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Defined as the generation born between the early 80’s and the early 2000’s, the population of millennials makes up the largest generation in the United States. In addition to their love of selfies, Snapchat, and being able to check social media or email on the go, millennials are tech-savvy, highly educated, and extremely concerned with Earth’s climate change. According to Stream Energy recent polling, an astonishing 80 percent of millennials want the U.S. to transition to mostly clean or renewable energy by 2030. This topic is only second in importance to requiring background checks for all gun purchases, at a slightly higher 82 percent favorability.
According to the University of Texas’ Energy Poll, there is a substantial gap between millennial and baby boomer renewable energy concerns. While 68 percent of adults under the age of 35 polled in support of reducing carbon emissions, only 50 percent of adults over the age of 65 agreed. Conversely, 49 percent of the baby boomers polled positively for expanding offshore oil development, while only 38 percent of millennials agreed. This trend continues in the case of approving the Keystone XL pipeline; while baby boomers polled at a 55 percent agreeable rating, their younger counterparts polled again at a mere 38 percent. An incredible 70 percent of millennials supported increasing science and research funding, while only a shockingly low 53 percent of boomers agreed.
Climate change education could be the main reason for the age-driven disagreements between baby boomers and millennials. While many present-day high schools require students to complete a course in environmental studies, the boomers may not have had this requirement. In addition, even if the boomers had taken an environmental studies class it would not have had any information on climate change. It was not until 1960 that the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were measured, and found to rise annually. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was created in 1970 and became the world’s leader in climate change research. The election of 1981 brought political skepticism of the environmental movement, but the spark was reignited in 1983 with reports from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and Environmental Protection Agency that put “global warming” into mainstream politics. The timing of this research was too late for the boomers’ high school education. By definition the baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, which means they were graduating high school no later than 1982, a year before global warming was even discussed in politics.
Even if millennials did not earn their high school diploma with this environmental sciences education, the information driven through social media is significant. While more boomers are becoming computer-literate and slowly creating Facebook and Twitter accounts, this realm of technology is still generally millennial’s turf. While millennials may see constant posts of warning concerning the overarching threat of climate change, baby boomers simply are not.
In addition to this education, millennials will see the most significant changes that are yet to come. The fact is that millennials, people under 35, are generally going to live past their older counterparts. Perhaps unconsciously this puts boomers’ minds at ease. A reason to not believe what 95 percent of scientists and researchers claim about the Earth’s dangerously changing climate.
Using renewable energy is the second most important topic to young voters, trailing the first issue by a mere 2 percent. 80 percent of millennials want the country to transition to mostly clean and renewable energy by 2030, a lofty goal that will only be accomplished by action now. It is a quantifiable fact that millennials want renewable energy.