Tuesday, March 31, 2009


When in Britain last week at the Skoll World Forum, I was referred to a recent article in The Observer written by Joss Garman, the 24-year-old co-founder of the British environmental group, Plane Stupid. In the excerpt below, read to Skoll Forum delegates by Lord David Puttnam, Garman says many people [chiefly Baby Boomers] tend to write off as "fad" the deeply held climate-change worries shared by many in Garman's Millennial generation. Garman writes:

"This isn't the next fad. The naive popular narrative that "every generation has its thing" and that climate is ours—that we're the "Facebook generation"—simply does not hold. This isn't about being disaffected and rebellious without a cause. This isn't about dropping out, rejecting the norm, culture-jamming and hacking the system. This isn't even about altruism. It's not just about defending the rights and lives of those who are less fortunate than us and it certainly isn't about polar bears. This is about us. For the Millennial generation, the patronising cliches fall apart, because this isn't about ideals so much as hard science and the terrifying reality that what the scientists have been warning us all about for years—sea-level rises, catastrophic droughts, and melting ice caps—will now happen in our lifetimes. So we become angry when we witness the same generation which let the economic system collapse—and that is leaving my generation with an unfathomable burden of debt—now knowingly setting us on another disastrous course. We know how this story ends, but not because we've read obscure economic treatises or dense theories. We know because scientists are providing measurable, objective evidence that the high-carbon economic model has an in-built, self-destruct mechanism."

(Illustration, Mr. G Warming, by Matt Hertel)

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