Environmentalism in younger generations

“How Dare you?” 

The voice of a new generation of activists 


Late in the summer of 2018, fifteen-year-old Greta Thunberg made her first stand against climate change. Thunberg’s protests to the UK Parliament almost immediately gained her media attention. 


Supporters called her “inspiring” and even “ahead of her time,” and detractors called her a “government tool.” 


Thunberg’s activism eventually caught the eye of the European Union, and in September of 2019, she addressed world leaders. She reprimanded their lack of concern for the environment. 


Despite detractors and mockery, Thunberg’s speech left an impact on the world stage. However, contrary to what the media suggests, she was not the first young person to step up to bat for the environment. Young climate activists have been around since the industrial revolution. 


In the modern world, however, younger generations seem to have taken on a much deeper concern for the environment than ever before. 


Socially Conscious Media 


New media has aided in the push to lessen the carbon footprint. Student articles like “Ingested And Entangled”  by Hannah Alley challenge the use of balloons at graduation. 


Young people have also taken to social media to express their concerns for the environment and have begun movements to raise awareness. Through the use of hashtags and online communities, the younger generations come together as a way to address this issue. 


The ease of internet access has opened up new outlets for political, social and environmental platforming. Activists have made use of apps like TikTok and Snapchat to further the movement. 


Influencers have also begun to use their platform to express and raise concern for environmental issues. In 2019, internet personality Mr. Beast used his platform and influence to plant twenty-million trees. 


Unprecedented Existentialism 


Our generation is in crisis over the damage done to the earth, and it would seem for good reason. 


According to climate.nasa.com: Just since the 1950s, we have seen a spike in carbon dioxide levels going from 320 to 480 just in the last handful of decades. 


Other websites like The World Counts give a numerical count of resources being used. 


With the threat of climate change and the constant fear of war and violence, the modern sense of “a rebellious youth” appears to be one who is deeply concerned for the environment and the new counter-culture is recycling. 


The market for sustainable resources has also reached new heights over the past few years. Recycled binders and notebooks, metal straws and reusable water bottles have all seen a rise in popularity. 



Youth movements have always been at the forefront of social change. The anti-war protests, civil rights marches and the stonewall riots pushed the progressive line in the sixties and seventies. In the nineties, the PC (Politically Correct) movement changed the language we used, and the Riot Grrrl movement inspired young girls to use their voices to fight against the social norms.


Today the torch of social change has been passed down to a new generation of activists using their voices and platforms to once again fight for change in unprecedented ways.