Generation Z’s role in climate change activism

Teenagers participating in a climate strike.

By: Mia Costales | Writer

January 17, 2020

Climate change has been an increasingly important topic in recent years with the whole world wondering just how far we can push the limits of global warming before it’s too late. In fact, climate scientists have predicted that by 2040, climate change will be virtually irreversible if humans don’t take action. Of course, this news is shocking, to say the least, and affects literally everyone in the world. However, Generation Z (born between 1996 and 2010) seems to be particularly invested in bringing awareness to this worldwide problem.

Generation Z, the first generation consisting mostly of members born post-9/11, are riddled with problems like climate change, terrorism, and an increase in mass shootings and gun violence, yet they live in a golden age of technology. By turning to social media, Generation Z has brought immense attention to climate change. From Greta Thunberg’s trending #fridaysforfuture to climate change memes, it’s hard to scroll down your Instagram feed without coming across at least one post about the serious topic.

Climate change memes are becoming increasingly popular due to global warming.

For most teenagers, climate change is more than just a trending hashtag. “Social media has definitely had mostly positive influences on climate change activism, especially among the youth. Social media has allowed like-minded, concerned youths to collaborate in an effort to create change,” San Clemente High School junior Gisele Brandt, vice president of San Clemente High School’s Blue Oceans Club, said. “Gen Z is particularly responsible for increased climate change awareness and activism in this movement because first of all, we have a major presence on social media, second of all, I think we generally do not trust the older generations to do what’s right.”

As for other generations, being “eco-friendly” was merely a fad, never a pressing problem. Words like global warming were thrown around but were never taken seriously (as seen by the millions who still believe climate change isn’t real). However, to Generation Z environmental problems seem to be a little more detrimental. Where Millenials are dealing with crippling college debt, Generation Z is dealing with the effects of an increasingly warmer climate, threatening the Earth’s existence.

Still, some don’t see the benefit in simply posting about it rather than doing something to actually help. “A lot of people post on their stories when the big crazy stuff pops up like Australia burning to spread awareness,” said SCHS freshman Kayla McLaughlin. “The people who want to help will, but simply posting on a story that’s only there for 24 hours will do nothing.”

Many say Generation Z will be the generation to make a change and by the looks of it, that statement seems to be true. If there is one thing that Generation Z has going for them, it’s their continuous ability to become involved in what they believe in. Climate change is real and if something isn’t done soon the consequences will be devastating.

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