A Millennial’s View: The Life Ahead
As a Millennial, I get tired of everyone calling us the lazy generation that will never contribute anything useful to the Great American Dream. They think our day consists of smoking weed and shoving our face in a Cheetos bag while we watch the latest episode of Breaking Bad.
However, that stereotype doesn’t fit for most of us when it comes to the environment. More of us support stricter environmental laws and greater use alternative energy sources. Also, as Chris Benderev points out in an NPR article, we’re ever aware that global warming and the degradation of the oceans point to the actions of the human population. On the other hand, some older people don’t want to face that. Specifically, two Stanford students recently helped convince the school to no longer invest in coal mining companies, and instead turn to better alternate energy sources. Yes, we may lack in some areas that our parents or even grandparents think we need to have to live a quality life. But I, like many Millennials, possess some of the most important qualities of love and respect for nature.
Our Earth needs my generation’s imagination and the upcoming technology because it faces a severe environmental crisis that continues to grow more prominent each day. Oceans and the marine life in them are slowly dying due to how we humans have treated the environment like one giant trash can. Researchers have discovered things like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a significant area of the ocean made up of debris called micro plastic, made from the litter of millions of people from multiple countries whose trash circulates into dense spots. In turn, sea turtles and other animals suffer from ingesting the trash or getting trapped in objects like empty six pack rings. It seems like this whole mess could have been avoided if we just created a new way to dispose of our trash.
Other marine problems persist besides just the garbage. Coral reefs become bleached out and die because of the amount of carbon dioxide we emit into the air. This leads to fish losing their homes and protection from predators, which consequently kills off those species. We don’t have time to sit around and act like our bodies of water aren’t slowly falling apart. The fault lies on previous generations which built a world dependent on oil and outdated machines that produce pollution. Our generation now has the responsibility of fixing the problems created. The time has long passed for us to take a stand and give back to our home. But, don’t worry, this won’t turn out as a sob story to make you feel bad and convince you to donate to my favorite “Save the Dolphin” Foundation.
Because we’re a generation of dreamers, many of us accept that environmental changes need to happen. This allows us to go beyond “the norm” to experiment and explore. Especially with technology becoming more advanced, we will accomplish things that most deem impossible. Amazing projects have already taken place, like an edible blob that holds water, which can replace drinking out of a plastic bottle. It costs around two cents to make, and the thin membrane made out of brown algae and calcium chloride proves a safe way to drink water without the harmful plastic. This technology, paired with my generation, will aid in the next amazing scientific discoveries, and produce machines to help in ways mere human power isn’t enough.
That’s where I fit into the mold. I’m one of many who can’t sit still and watch anymore. Even though I want to take action, I had a hard time figuring out just how I wanted to give back. I struggled with finding a passion to pursue in college that correlated with my love for nature. Do I follow my older sister’s ambitious path to pursue medical school just so I can have a lot of money, or do I find my own purpose in life?
I had a couple of ideas in my head as to what I enjoyed, but nothing specific came to mind. I knew that I didn’t want to be a housewife staying at home with ten kids while my husband went out and made a living. I knew that I had ambition, and actually wanted to make a difference somewhere, somehow. I also always wanted to work with animals because I generally connected to them better than I did with my human friends. Then, I realized I’m not as fond of any state that doesn’t have a beach warm enough to go to almost all year long. This was about all I had to work with when trying to choose my degree in college. So I utilized those recognitions and went head first into a new world that would completely envelope me.
I chose marine biology. At first, I chose that path solely because I thought animals were cute, and I wanted to live some place warm. I haven’t always been aware of the impact people leave behind on our earth, nor have I always cared as much as I do now. I don’t try to pretend that I’m perfect when it comes to living an environmentally friendly life. As I have come to know more about myself in these past few years though, I have figured out that I hope to live this life someday. I also came to a very specific conclusion as to how I would use my education. With my future career I want to raise endangered species so they can flourish again, and rebuild habitats to create homes for animals that have had theirs destroyed. I want to fight for nature’s rights, and actually make a difference.
That is where the separation between generations comes into play. As many people get older, they don’t want to change what they have known their whole life, maybe because they think it won’t help anything, or maybe because they just don’t see anything wrong with their actions and lifestyles. We, as young adults, see a whole life ahead of us and the chance to create an extraordinary world.
Along with others, I want to fight to keep marine life and its habitat alive and healthy. Maybe the child full of imagination inside of me comes out when I talk about my future because I am going to give back to keep the wonders of our mysterious oceans alive and inspire people to keep discovering the unknown. We only know a small portion about the seas, and we will not discover even close to the deepest depths of them anytime soon. We must give our generation and future generations time to explore and find creatures and plants that only appear in myths and children’s stories.
I’m not alone in this fight for our planet. Call us “modern hippies” or tree huggers, but I think our turn has come to pay attention to our planet. Mother Nature has given us beautiful beaches to play on, extravagant sea creatures to study, and gorgeous blue waters to admire across the world. I have hope knowing that I am not alone in my care for our home. Even when others have already stopped wanting to make a change, Millennials will recreate a beautiful planet.
Blake Faucett is currently a college student working on a general biology degree. In graduate school, she plans on pursuing marine biology, and she eventually wants to work at a non-profit rescue and rehabilitation center for marine animals.