By Malia Cohen
History shows that every generation has a mission. Some rise to the challenge nobly as the Greatest Generation rose to the challenge posed by the Great Depression and the rise of fascism. Others muddle through, as did the Silent Generation of the 1950’s who largely maintained the comfortable status quo they inherited from their parents. There comes a rare time, however, when a tidal wave of world conditions takes siege over the possibilities and hope of a generation in the pursuit of writing the next chapter in human history. In this new generation, referred to as Millennials, these new champions are young, technically adept, globally oriented, well-educated, and are poised to address the complex challenges of a nation in decline.
Eric Greenberg nails it in his book discussion at Google (link). Finally, someone who gets it! He concludes that Generation We or Millennials are inheriting a damaged future fueled by a series of problems that are of crisis proportions. Without intervention, Greenberg suggests that our Nation and World will continue to decline. America, in spite of its vast growth economic and scientific advancement, would continue to devolve broken educational systems, programs and services that perpetuate child poverty, expanding health disparities, and a paralyzing deficit.
Let me give you an example of what we’re facing: It’s not secret that scientist warn we may only have a ten year window before catastrophic climate change becomes inevitable. This is a very real threat and one that I don’t take lightly. The devastation is putting mankind at risk. The world’s natural resources are being pillaged, deserts are being created and clean water is becoming a luxury. Raw materials are being consumed unsustainably and we need to take the threat of global warming seriously.
Apparently I am not the only one concerned. Analysts within the CIA, Pentagon, Center for Naval Analysis and US Army War College all consider the risks of global warming real, and a threat multiplier. Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence, offered testimony before Congress stating the Intelligence Community’s belief that “global climate change will have important and extensive implications for US national security interests over the next 20 years.”
So what can we do about this? First, acknowledge that we need to restore and protect our environment and the planet. We must immediately reverse and repair the environment. Greenberg is correct, the mission of the Millennial Generation is to innovate our way to new sources of nonfossil fuel energy; in the same way John F Kennedy, in 1962, set the impossible goal of sending a man to the moon; an audacious challenge at the time.
I will be the first to admit that things are not going to get better on their own. Instead, we need to think about what is in our collective best interest and take action. If we don’t then we face societal decline. However, according to Greenberg, brewing before us are millions of young dedicated progressive young leaders anxious to effect change.
After making a great case for Generation We, Greenberg believes that an agenda must be implemented, and support and guidance must be provided. He provides constructive ideas in both veins. If nothing else, I feel more assured that the problems of the world will not go un-checked. And for that I’m extremely optimistic.