Our Generation Has It Rough
In the light of considerable portions of Amazon burning, I started thinking about our generation and what we are meant to do. I think I am not too daring when I say ‘our’ because let’s face it, most of you who read this are in their thirties, early millennials, maybe you have kids, maybe you do not, you most probably have a form of education and, again, are probably set out there to change the world one way or another.
Short intro. First came our parents.
Their name, baby boomers, kind of says it all. They were the generation who, after a decimating war and the depriving times that followed it, was blessed with education and health and had babies. Us. Because they were all happy and healthy, they had time to take some drugs, have a sexual revolution, give the world Queen, stomp on Michael Jackson’s childhood, found Apple and set the ground for the internet, which kind of makes it possible for me to write this now.
In a nutshell, I’d say our parents kind of fulfilled the first four levels of Maslow’s pyramid: physiological, safety, love, self-esteem.
Now it’s our turn. They call us Generation X. Millennials. The Snowflakes.
Before all sociologists jump to correct me, I know all those terms refer to a slightly different time period. I am trying to make a point here, so bear with me.
Compared to other generations we are spoiled. And our grandparents rightfully call us that. Even the ones born in communism like me… we did have it all. Almost. I am still overcompensating with shoes but that is the only thing I am indulging in, I promise. Going back: we had clothes on our backs, food in our bellies and, in most cases, a decent education. It might not have been perfect, but it taught us, if nothing else, to survive. To hustle, as some put it.
Some of us are set to rule. I cannot not mention here one of my high school colleagues who, when asked what kind of profession he wanted in life, his answer came swiftly ‘I want to be a boss.’ Didn’t matter whose boss or doing what. He wanted to rule. Fair enough. I even think it served him right, he got into politics.
The rest of us, less equipped to face the electorate, what purpose do we serve in this life? And don’t say make babies, find love. This is about more than just that.
In my opinion, we have the luxury of spending a lot of time on self-actualisation, last of Maslow’s steps in his pyramid. Of course, that implies finding love, getting married, babies, spirituality and all that. But I would add something more.
How about saving the planet?
I will not spend time advocating it. I am sure everyone is well aware of how much sh*t we’re in. It’s not just the Amazon, it’s about the plastic in our oceans, the smog in our air, the melting glaciers and the alarming skin cancer cases.
Seeing a post of a friend of mine on Facebook, which was one of the viral shares of pictures with forests in flames, made me realise that we don’t speak about how much this is our responsibility and how we can talk to others about it. And not just matter-of-facts over a coffee, but actively give and share advice about what to buy and what not to buy, how to recycle, how to waste less plastic. I have written about this before here.
Here it is, again, in short, what I do to minimise my print on this quickly decaying planet of ours.
1. I eliminated most of my cosmetics that come wrapped in plastic. It wasn’t easy. Come and ask me if you need advice.
2. I am not buying new clothes anymore, except for underwear or other intimates.
3. When I do need something, I am not buying plastic clothes and, most importantly, NO microfiber. It goes beyond saying no fur either. Something can be said about cotton as well. I am trying to stick to organic as much as I can.
4. I am telling waiters or bartenders I do not need a plastic straw in my drink.
5. I do not buy coffee to go and when I have to, I give up the plastic lid or have my own bottle.
6. I am not buying bottled water.
7. I have replaced sanitary pads with a menstrual cup. It changed my life for the better.
8. We don’t buy new furniture and recently we have redecorated our small apartment.
9. I am not taking plastic bags anymore when they are offered. And I can even fight merchants for it. Sometimes though, they are extremely receptive. I was a little impressed, I gotta say.
10. I have replaced detergents with plant-based ones.
11. I have bought bamboo kitchen paper towels which are not only resistant and washable but also biodegradable and sustainable.
12. I have stopped buying postcards or miles and miles of wrapping paper for presents.
13. I am always buying toilet paper that comes from recycled paper.
14. I have contracted a local farm for our vegetables and meat and are trying to replace veal completely. We have succeeded in replacing milk with rice milk. Alin is a happy bunny.
15. I have started to use Ecosia as a search engine. I also use DuckDuckGo and Google for different things. But that has something to do also with my digital hygiene. Again, feel free to ask why.
16. We are both, myself and Alin, have constant discussions with Carla about all of these.
17. My biggest success will be when I will convince my coworkers to stop using single-use cups and spoons. Will keep you posted.
This is the stuff I can think of right now. If you have other suggestions, let me know.
So yes, we were spoiled, but our generation has a very difficult mission. To stop the massacre of this planet. And not just this isn’t an easy job, I am not even sure it is possible.