By Matt Sykes
Whatever you want to call it, however you want to do it, all generations need to get better at caring for our Earth.
If you give different members of Australia’s generations the challenge of regenerating our planet, they tackle it in quite different ways. Each reflect what is and what is not 'socially acceptable', but we could probably do better at learning from each other and acknowledging the common ground that connects us.
Let’s start with Gen Z, the climate strikers. They’re fed up and they every right to be. So, their greatest tools are social media and old school activism. Hats to them for bailing out of the classroom to front up the grand challenges that other generations, including millennials have either tried to sweep under the carpet or just been too polite about.
Entrepreneurial Gen Y, well, many of us started further study in environmental science or land management but we soon realised that it wasn’t breaking through. Like so many peers, I jumped into the uncomfortable sphere of business, in search of a tool for underlying cultural change. Enter purpose-beyond-profit business, and the latest incarnation ‘regenerative business’.
Moving on up to independent Gen X. These folks seem to fit into two streams, you’ve got your traditional counter-culture conservationists and then you have these eco-pioneers. The former distains ‘the man’ and lives as close to nature as possible, while the other has laid some decent foundations for corporate responsibility, kind of on the sly though, because you don’t want to be seen as too green. Keep cups are OK.
Now for the Baby Boomers. Every time I call my uncle, he seems to be out in the paddock planting trees. These are old-school farmers and gardeners, with strong emotional and cultural ties to the mother land. My uncle half-jokingly introduces me as his ‘greenie, tree-hugging nephew’. We have a ball together, debating and sharing ideas. There’s a different language but we’re more or less on the same page.
You’re absolutely right, I’m generalising and over-simplifying. At the end of day, who cares what language you use, even if other generations don’t get it. But in all seriousness, we do have to crack on and regenerate our Earth … starting with our own backyards.
Aussie’s, you hear that?
The 'Not In my Backyard/Business' mentality ain’t going to cut it.
2021 here we come ... Time to rally, together.
PS: The photos are from a farm visit that my uncle facilitated up near Benalla. One of his 'neighbours' is big into wildlife corridors and looking at converting significant areas of marginal grazing pastures to solar panel fields. I think it was his way of saying that he's a greenie at heart too, just don't tell anyone! :)