Study: Young people not so ‘green’ after all


Meanwhile, 15 percent of Millennials said they had made no effort to help the environment, compared with 8 percent of young Gen Xers and 5 percent of young baby boomers.

Millennials also were the least likely to say they’d made an effort to conserve electricity and fuel used to heat their homes.

In the case of heating fuel, 78 percent of young baby boomers and 71 percent of young Gen Xers said they cut back, compared with 56 percent of Millennials.

It is important to note that most of the survey data available for Millennials was collected before the country’s most recent recession hit.

Even so, those working in the environmental field—including some Millennials themselves—aren’t that surprised by the findings.

Emily Stokes, a 20-year-old geography student at Western Washington University, grew up in the Pacific Northwest. She thinks people there are more likely to take environmental issues more seriously because of the natural beauty that surrounds them.

“But I still find myself pretty frustrated a lot of the time,” said Stokes, who wants to go into marine resource management. “I just think our generation seems fairly narcissistic—and we seem to have the shortest attention span.”

Kelly Benoit, a 20-year-old political science student at Northeastern University in Massachusetts, went as far as calling her peers “lazy.”

“I think it can be due to our upbringing. We want what we want when we want it,” said Benoit, who has worked with lawmakers in her state to try to ban the use of plastic bags in stores.

She thinks members of her generation, like a lot of people, simply don’t want to give up conveniences.

Or are they just overwhelmed?

Mark Potosnak, an environmental science professor at DePaul University in Chicago, has noticed an increase in skepticism—or confusion—about climate change among his students as the national debate has heightened. That leads to fatigue, he said.