News on the climate change front is dire. The oceans are hotter than they’ve been in recorded history. Last year was the fourth-warmest year on record. Greenland’s ice is melting six times faster than it did in the 1980s, and sea-level rise is already affecting coastal economies.
But amidst these concerning trends, there is still cause for hope, according to environmental activist and author Bill McKibben.
McKibben, who founded the climate organization 350.org, recently published a new book called “Falter.” He told Business Insider that his hopefulness comes from seeing millennials and Gen Zers push for action across the globe. This younger generation overwhelmingly favors policies and initiatives that reduce carbon emissions. A 2018 Pew study showed that 81% of millennials believe the planet is indeed warming, and that 65% of those millennials say human activity is the primary cause. That’s about 10% more than the general public. Millennials also factor climate change into their decisions at the polls, according to the Pew data.
In the last eight months, McKibben said, the mainstream tide has seemed to shift in the climate change battle, toward a position more closely aligned with that of young people. The belief that governments should take more initiative in addressing the climate threat has started to permeate across the globe.
In this recent time period, there have been worldwide climate strikes, a burgeoning Green New Deal in the US Congress, and the nomination of a 16-year-old climate activist for the Nobel prize.
“We’re in a climate moment right now,” McKibben told Business Insider, adding, “All these things started to combine to produce this new moment where people are open to change.”
Here are the reasons McKibben thinks young people are gaining ground in the fight.
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