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Saturday, June 22, 2024

How Gen Z is Tackling Climate Change


According to a recent Deloitte survey, the number one concern of Gen Z is the environment. As the world grapples with the escalating climate crisis, this generation is stepping to the forefront with a profound sense of urgency. Generation Z, born roughly between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, will be affected directly by climate change for the rest of their lives. While older generations won’t experience the worst global warming effects, Gen Z will bear the brunt. Therefore, they are emerging as a powerful force in leading the fight to curb our reliance on fossil fuels and switch to more sustainable energy sources like solar and wind. The HBCU Clean Energy Initiative showcases how their tech-savvy nature and global interconnectedness lead them to take bold initiatives to address the environmental crisis.

 

  1. Youth-Led Climate Strikes: One of the most visible and impactful initiatives by Gen Z is the global youth-led climate strike movement. Inspired by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, young people worldwide are organizing and participating in massive strikes and protests to demand urgent action on climate change. One of the activists in the U.S. who is making an impact is 16-year-old Aditi Narayanan, a high school junior from Phoenix, Arizona, who received national press coverage for her work on the Arizona Youth Climate Strike. Narayan also started a group in Phoenix called Zero Hour that lobbies for a political education campaign about climate justice. Zero Hour, a group founded and run by young people, has chapters throughout the U.S., aiming to bring attention to the “root causes” of climate change.
  2. Digital Activism and Social Media Influence: Gen Z’s proficiency in digital tools and social media has been a game-changer in raising awareness about climate issues. Through platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, young activists share information, mobilize support, and hold corporations and governments accountable for their environmental impact. Social media campaigns have proved instrumental in building a sense of community and empowering individuals to act. According to Pew Research, among social media users, nearly seven in ten Gen Z’ers (69%) say they felt anxious about the future when they saw content addressing climate change.

 

  1. Innovative Solutions and Technology: Harnessing their innate technological fluency, Gen Z is actively developing and promoting innovative solutions to combat climate change. Meagan Loyst Is the founder of Gen Z V.C.s, the world’s largest community of Gen Z investors with 25,000-plus members from 80 countries. Climate was the number one trend their community followed in 2022, and many aspiring investors are looking to break into the space as dedicated climate or environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) investors.
  2. Changing Personal Behavior: With 6 in 10 Gen Z’ers feeling anxiety about climate change, they are actively taking action, with 69 trying to minimize their impact on the environment—not driving a car, avoiding fast fashion, making their homes more energy efficient, and eating a vegetarian diet, for example.
  3. Consumer Activism and Sustainable Lifestyles: With a growing consciousness about the environmental impact of consumer choices, Gen Z is driving demand for sustainable products and ethical practices. This consumer activism is pushing companies to adopt environmentally friendly policies and practices. From boycotting fast fashion to advocating for plant-based diets, young people are reshaping markets and promoting a more sustainable way of life. According to a Deloitte research study, “more than half of Gen Zs (55 percent) and millennials (54 percent) say they research a company’s environmental impact and policies before accepting a job from them. About four in five respondents say they want businesses to do more to enable consumers to make more sustainable purchasing decisions, whether making products more affordable, greening their supply chains, or using more sustainable packaging. They are also sensitive to greenwashing, with about 3 in 10 Gen Zs (30 percent) and millennials (29 percent) saying they consider whether a company’s sustainability certifications match their marketing claims before buying goods or services from them. 
  4. Political Engagement and Advocacy: Gen Z is actively engaging in politics to influence policies related to climate change. In 2020, the most recent presidential election year, 53 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds cast a ballot, a nine percentage point jump from 2016. At that time, youth-led environmental organizations such as the Sunrise Movement mobilized millions of people to vote in record numbers, with organizers as young as 12 and 13 making countless phone calls to talk to community members about what’s at stake and registering eligible peers to vote. Youth-led organizations also lobby governments, participate in climate conferences, and run campaigns to elect leaders committed to environmental sustainability. 

 

Conclusion:

With a combination of digital activism, innovative solutions, educational advocacy, and political engagement, Gen Z is committed to creating a sustainable future. Their initiatives not only highlight the urgency of addressing climate issues but also showcase the power of collective action in shaping a more environmentally conscious world. 

 

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