ZEITLINES | 03.16.19
Today, by way of Climate Strikes around the world, young people are reminding us that we’ve sure made a mess of things. As politicians, policymakers and pundits alike continue to dither on environmental issues, there is a new wave of activism - the GenZ revolution. I’ve said it before in this blog and I will say it again - this is the generation that will save us from ourselves. They are harnessing their economic and social power like no generation we have seen, and today in Zeitlines, Fiona Scott and Michelle Nguyen give us a closer look into how these kids are taking matters into their own hands. 16-year-old Greta Thurnberg was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize while thousands and thousands of others not old enough to vote yet, are voting with their voices and with their pocket books. Today is a wonderful reminder that change is afoot and if governments, brands and businesses don't get on board, they will be left behind by an entire generation.
Welcome to Zeitlines. Get some rest this weekend.
#FridaysForFuture: Continuing the Conversation on Climate Change
Fiona Scott, Sr Manager, Digital Marketing & Growth
Still from Buenos Aires Times.
As we read about the Climate Strikes happening around the world today, I was excited to see 16-year-old climate change activist, Greta Thunberg, is in the news again but this time, for her Nobel Peace Prize nomination. I wrote about Greta a few weeks ago in my last Zeitlines piece and the amazing impact she has made not only on me, but on changing how the story on climate change is told so that it is unignorable. Beyond her nomination, Greta has continued to be in the news and her movement is sparking all the way from Sweden to Canada. Her Twitter is essentially a live feed of the strikes as they unfold today.
It’s interesting how this story continues to be as uncomfortable as I found Greta’s first Ted Talk, with this most recent Globe & Mail article covering how Canadian sisters, Katie (18) and Mia (15) have been skipping school to sit on Parliament Hill in Ottawa but are often alone and are, as you may know if you’re in Southern Ontario, likely freezing cold. Luckily it’s milder for today’s climate strikes happening around the world, but that doesn’t make this an easier battle to fight. In Winnipeg, the students are planning a mock ‘Earth Funeral’. Now that’s uncomfortable. This is grim stuff that teens across the world are putting on their shoulders, and I think we need to get uncomfortable with them instead of uncomfortable reading about them.
Brands can be Warriors of the World Too
Michelle Nguyen, Community Manager
I’m in the paper towel aisle and I’m trying to do the math: This one is double ply, and each roll is 3x more paper than a regular roll. This one is triple ply and each roll is regular sized, but there are twice as many rolls.
My brain hurts.
They’re all in the same price point, and they’re all roughly the same size in my hands. I land on one solution and it may not be the economical one--I grab the environmentally friendly label. Because even if I'm not saving money, I know I'm helping the environment. And that’s enough for me.
You see, I am a member of what demographers call Generation Z, and if you Google that and start to dig in, you'll learn we're “warriors for the world”: all we want to do is save society and protect the planet from ourselves. And I’m a pretty typical example of that. In Grade 5, my end-of-year speech was on global warming. I was nine.
These are concepts that we’ve carried with us our whole lives, and we buy into brands who share those same ideals. We're putting our money where our thumbs are: Gen Z’s buying power has exceeded $500 billion, comparable to the GDP of Belgium. Brands who have a social ethos are the brands we'll believe in—and the ones who don’t, we'll drop without question.
“I would change brands if I knew they had poor social practices. If I’m buying a brand, I want that company to offer more than just a product. The product should recognize the environmental, social, and economical factors that made them successful in the first place,” says Haydn Sequeira, 23.
“I think Gen Zs care about company values because now more than ever, we’re forced to deal with the repercussions of bad corporate practices,” says Natasha Nehru, 22. “We grew up learning about global warming - something that generations before us have contributed to, and we feel obligated to combat it.”
Today as youth march in Climate Strikes around the world, it's a good opportunity for brands and businesses to take stock and take a look at what they are doing to make the world a better place. We’re sending a message, a shot across the bow, of sorts. Either you feel the need to help us make a difference, or you will feel it on your bottom line.
If you have a story of your own to share, reach out to Fiona at firstname.lastname@example.org! #FreeYourStory