Millennials are in the business of redefining tradition; relationships are no exception to the rule. What baby boomers and their parents previously defined as a healthy relationship has been all but made illegal in the Millennial generation. Just to be clear, “Anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 22-37 in 2018) will be considered a Millennial” (Dimmock, 2018). This age group comprises a large part of our world today, and is often thought of as the “generation of change” because of their emerging ability to build bridges over lava rivers, so to speak. Caught in the wake of environmental recklessness, oppression of individuality, and resistance to change, Millennials are responsible for cleaning up much more than littered beaches.
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word relationship as, “a state of affairs existing between those having relations or dealings”. A pretty straight forward definition that ironically seems to have been abandoned by many humans in the last couple of centuries. When did the relationship between humans and Earth turn into unrequited love? Books like The Giving Tree come to mind when thinking of this dysfunctional relationship that has formed between a planet and it’s inhabitants. Human health (and existence) is directly dependent on the health of our planet. The Earth provides humans with air to breath, water for drinking, land for growing, and natural phenomena for entertainment. The question is, what do humans provide for the Earth? This is a hot debate topic in the modern world, because unfortunately with knowledge, technology, and expansion often comes arrogance. It is hard to picture the Earth, or even the Universe, existing without humans because this species has developed the irrational thought that humans are the center of it all. The apple of existence’s eye.
The paradox between human existence and the existence of planet Earth is that while pondering the aforementioned arrogance of our species, the next logical thought would be that we are quite insignificant in the grand scheme of things. However, this is only true in the way of creation. When it comes to the destruction of this planet, there is no way we aren’t the center of it all. The eye of a hurricane, the detonator of a bomb, the parasite inside a gut…the picture’s pretty clear. Climate Change, the more accurate description of what used to be known as Global Warming, is supported with substantial evidence that humans are the direct cause. NASA states that, “Humans have increased atmospheric CO2 concentration by more than a third since the Industrial Revolution began. This is the most important long-lived "forcing" of climate change.” The industrial revolution began in 1760, by the way. That means that although humans have been on this Earth for hundreds of thousands of years, measurable climate change only started a few centuries ago. Why is this important? It proves that humans have the ability to live on Earth without causing large scale destruction, but have let greed take us down the wrong road.
Just like in romantic comedies though, it’s never too late to act on true love. Relationships go through ups and downs, selfish behavior, and passionate expression. Unlike in romantic comedies, to keep a relationship healthy, couples often need some counseling. No shame in that, right? It seems that Millennials have that part down in the form of taking advice from science and history. They’re proving their commitment to redefining the relationship between humans and Earth by laying out the facts, listening intently, and taking loving action one step at a time.
With Sustainability and Wellness careers on the rise, the damage done is on its way to being mended. People are realizing that while cheeseburgers are delicious, they come with a big side of guilt now days. Social media is filling up with articles on the direct relationship between America’s demand for meat and the greenhouse gases emitted from big agriculture production. Genetically Modified Organisms were hidden from the public eye less than a decade ago, and now science is exposing their serious dangers to human health, as well as their long-term detriment to the land their grown on. Obesity has hit an all time high, along with its comorbid diseases. In search for vitality, people are throwing out their processed foods and hiring wellness coaches. Colleges are dedicating majors to sustainable practices, using modern methods to guide young people back to their roots in eco friendly living.
It may have looked like an “on again, off again” relationship between Earth and Humans for a while there, but the firm (and sometimes whiney) voices of the Millennial generation have spoken…sometimes the strongest love develops from hardship.
Written by Holly White
May 8th, 2017
Dimock, Michael. “Defining Generations: Where Millennials End and Post-Millennials Begin.” Pew Research Center, 1 Mar. 2018, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/03/01/defining-generations-where-millennials-end-and-post-millennials-begin/.
“Relationship.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, 26 Apr. 2018, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/relationship.
“Climate Change Causes: A Blanket around the Earth.” Edited by Holly Shaftel, NASA, NASA, 10 Aug. 2017, climate.nasa.gov/causes/.