In a study recently published in an academic psychology journal, young people have been found to be less “green active” than their parents. The article was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and found that conserving resources and being environmentally conscious was less important to young people than their older counterparts in the study.
In Light of this information, the opportunity to raise awareness in young people regarding the environment is endless. Perhaps Schools and Universities should make environmental studies more radical so as to have a dramatic impact on the young people?
Millennials and Generation Xers have adopted a reputation for being environmental idealists, but according to a new analysis, young Americans are less interested in becoming those “green” warriors that many have presumed them to be. Published this month by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the study compiled an analysis of surveys spanning four decades, and resolved that conserving resources and becoming more environmentally conscious are less important to young Americans than they were to their elders.
Jean Twenge, who wrote the book Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled — and More Miserable Than Ever Before, has spent much of her professional life researching the challenges that young people face today and how such challenges reflect on their overall beliefs. “I was shocked,” asserted Twenge, a professor at San Diego State University and one of the study’s authors. “We have the perception that we’re getting through to people. But at least compared to previous eras, we’re not.”
The study, entitled “Generational Differences in Young Adults’ Life Goals, Concern for Others, and Civic Orientation,” begins with a quote describing today’s young Americans as a “civic-minded” generation, followed by another quote that suggests the contrary:
“People born between 1982 and 2000 are the most civic-minded since the generation of the 1930s and 1940s,” say Morley Winograd and Michael Hais, co-authors of Millennial Makeover: MySpace, You-Tube, and the Future of American Politics…. “Other generations were reared to be more individualistic,” Hais says. “This civic generation has a willingness to put aside some of their own personal advancement to improve society.” — USA Today, 2009
College students today show less empathy toward others compared with college students in decades before. With different demands at work — hours answering and writing e-mail — people have less time to care about others. — USA Today, 2010
Twenge and her colleagues analyzed two national surveys of high-school seniors and college freshmen and found that over the past 40 years young people’s interest in social programs and government policy has declined. But most significant was a free-fall in environmental-consciousness.
The study reported that, in a survey conducted decades ago, a third of young baby boomers believed it is important that people embrace programs that target environmental concerns. Conversely, only a quarter of Gen Xers and a mere 21 percent of Millennials believe the same.
Furthermore, 5 percent of baby boomers said they had neglected to help the environment, compared with 8 percent of Gen Xers and 15 percent of Millennials. Meanwhile, 78 percent of baby boomers said they had cut back on the use of heating fuel, while 71 percent of Gen Xers and 56 percent of Millennials affirmed the same.
Some observers predict that young Americans’ interest in environmental activism may only diminish, particularly if the economy persists in its fragile state. Moreover, the rising pain at the pump has made young Americans more aware of U.S. energy policy. According to a 2011 poll by Generation Opportunity, 70 percent of young adults (ages 18 to 29) support increasing the production of domestic energy sources such as oil, coal, and natural gas. Paul T. Conway, president of Generation Opportunity and former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Labor, expounded on the poll’s findings.
News Source: New American