Many people first started paying attention to the youth climate movement in 2018, when now-17-year-old Greta Thunberg began protesting outside Swedish Parliament in her home country. Her small act of civil disobedience had a ripple effect. Students across the globe began striking by refusing to attend classes, which eventually turned into the “Fridays For Future” movement.
Many dismissed the movement as a way to get out of PE class but it’s literally become the battle cry for so many around the world. It’s spawned a whole other movement that’s taken place on social media platforms – TikTok and YouTube.
Generation Z is leading the fight against climate change because their future depends on it.
Look beyond the inane challenges and the silly dances, and Generation Z is shaping climate policy, finance and activism more than any previous generation.
In the era of big data and little privacy, these kids have been studied, analyzed and polled to exhaustion. We know, for example, that for a majority of those born between 1995 and 2000, climate change is the most vital issue of their time, according to an Amnesty International survey last year. The Covid-19 pandemic has made them more optimistic that it’s not too late to repair the damage done.
And they’re using tech to get it all done.
On the corners of the internet most frequented by people born this century, there are serious conversations taking place. And the Covid-19 pandemic has made Gen Z more optimistic that it’s not too late to repair the damage done to the environment, a conviction they share with millennials, according to the Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2020. About four out of five respondents think businesses and governments should make greater efforts to protect the environment.
Gamers are helping get out the word, too!
The videogame sector, which generated $120.1 billion in revenue in 2019, is taking note. Twenty eight companies with a combined audience of over 970 million players have joined the United Nations’ Playing for the Planet Alliance, pledged to reduce emissions and to insert green elements into games.
Microsoft, which has promised to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it has emitted by 2050, is making its Xbox carbon neutral. Its direct competitor, Sony’s PlayStation, has improved the energy efficiency of its upcoming PS5.
Gamers have been driving this green shift for years. In 2018, developer Nicholas Porillo made a climate plugin for Minecraft, a videogame with 131 million monthly users who spend endless hours building 3-D worlds with blocks that represent different organic materials. Under Porillo’s modification, farm animals fart methane and furnaces emit carbon dioxide, some of which is absorbed by trees.
As greenhouse gas levels in the digital atmosphere increase, so do temperatures, sea level and flooding. Players can regulate each element’s sensitivity—for example, how much carbon emissions impact temperature—to the point that the game effectively becomes a scientific climate model.