The current generation.

Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory/Joshua Stevens; NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service.

I feel bad for the current generation.

By the time they’re born, they’re already being blamed for everything wrong with the world. It’s not enough that we’ve saddled them with the responsibility of healing our planet, the ruination of which, in their short time here, they couldn’t possibly have caused. Now, in our guilt and to our shame, we’re blaming them for everything WE have done to this place.

Did THEY invent plastic? Did THEY invent internal combustion? Did THEY invent capitalism?

We should be giving them all the tools they need to fix OUR mess. Instead, we lament their constant use of the internet and the smartphones WE gave them and around which WE have structured the society, economy, and educational system in which they must now live.

We decry their lack of “work ethic” when they refuse to accept a job for which WE can’t guarantee a living wage or an assured path to retirement because WE have historically prioritized profit over human dignity.

We dismiss our young people as aimless after WE recklessly robbed them of any meaningful direction because WE consider individual freedoms and conveniences more important than the preservation and protection of our environment.

And when a young person has a plan or suggestion to take even the smallest step toward pulling our planet back from the brink, toward preserving the health of well-being of the ENTIRETY of our future civilization, WE have the GALL to accuse them of being selfish. SELFISH! Meanwhile, WE cannot bear the merest POSSIBILITY of personal inconvenience, even if it means the salvation of our species, of our own children and grandchildren.

And yet, older generations—many members of which still refuse to acknowledge the damage done by their contemporaries despite benefiting from it—continue to demand respect from young people, which is like being pressured to respect the guy who’s just stolen all your stuff and is currently in the process of burning down your house with you in it.

We should be grateful. Even with the self-centeredness of the Me First Generation so deeply ingrained in our society, our young people are standing up for each other and taking on the challenge of fixing what we broke and what we CONTINUE to break.

And our only response is to show them resistance and share contemptuous memes about them on Facebook?

We fucked up. We need to give our current generation what they need to save themselves. And then we need to stay the hell out of their way.


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