If anyone is going to save the world, I’m pretty sure it will be Millennials. Hoping, anyway—who else is going to do it?
The destruction of the planet—in sanitized language, “climate change”—worries them more than anything else, and with good reason.
Feb. 26, 2018: “For the third year in a row, millennials who participated in the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Survey 2017 believe climate change is the most serious issue affecting the world today. Nearly half (48.8%) of the survey participants chose climate change as their top concern, and 78.1% said they would be willing to change their lifestyle to protect the environment. Survey respondents were also in near unequivocal agreement over the cause of climate change. Over 91% of respondents answered “agree” and “strongly agree” with the statement “science has proven that humans are responsible for climate change.”
The Business Insider article reports that the #1 issue on the mind of Millennials is “Climate change / destruction of nature (48.8%)”
For the generation that follows mine, the most important issue isn’t the fashion trends or wealth building of the 1980s or even the more politically motivated rebellion we saw in the Vietnam Era of the Sixties and Seventies. It is survival.
Human beings are shitting in their own den and have done so for a long time, creating a habitat that is increasingly less habitable. The Industrial Age gave us factories, cars, and devices to spread pesticides over enormous swaths of farmland. And the proverbial chickens are coming home to roost—we are seeing the effects of global warming, and they’re not going to happen in the future, they are happening.
There is no time to waste. It looks like Millennials are recognizing that (as well as 97% of the scientific community).
This is not an issue for neighborhood or city change; it is an issue for global change, and it will take global action. Millennials—as well as the generations before and after them—face the grave issue of saving the one planet we’ve got.
What does it take to ensure the continuance of our planet? First, obviously, reducing pollution and greenhouse gases. Then the ongoing work of sustaining a healthy, vibrant, flourishing environment. What is the key to this flourishing environment? Biodiversity.
Why Is Biodiversity Important?
Biodiversity boosts ecosystem productivity where each species, no matter how small, has an important role to play. For example:
- A larger number of plant species means a greater variety of crops
- Greater species diversity ensures natural sustainability for all life forms
- Healthy ecosystems can better withstand and recover from a variety of disasters.
Every living thing on our planet depends on every other living thing—this is biological interdependence—and the greater the diversity, the healthier the system. Even for those of us who are not experts in ecology or agriculture, it is easy to see this in practices like crop rotation and the crazy diversity of the rainforest (anywhere from 3 to 50 million species).
It’s even easier to see this need in human genetics, where diversity is of vital importance. What happens when we don’t spread the genes around? A host of really bad stuff, lumped together as “inbreeding depression.” According to Heather E. Lorimer, PhD:
- Elevated incidence of recessive genetic diseases
- Reduced fertility both in litter size and in sperm viability
- Increased congenital defects such as cryptorchidism, heart defects, cleft palates.
- Fluctuating assymetry (such as crooked faces, or uneven eye placement and size).
- Lower birthweight
- Higher neonatal mortality
- Slower growth rate
- Smaller adult size, and
- Loss of immune system function.
Clearly the planet needs diversity in the plant and animal kingdom, and we need diversity to build the immune system of the human gene pool…
Leading us to the undeniable conclusion that “weird will save the world.”
How can we do our species a favor and cultivate diversity? How do we “fertilize” the gene pool and protect the health of living human beings, those already here and those of future generations? What should we be doing to nurture the physical (biological) diversity that leads to our cognitive and creative diversity?
Answer: Cultivate strangeness. “Think outside the box” (yes, that time-worn cliché). Use every bit of your “think different” nature. Rather than hiding your “unusual” ideas or “weird” needs, celebrate them. Of course, I’m not talking about criminality but rather the conscious practice of allowing yourself to be yourself—even when, or especially when, the people in your current circle press you to conform, to stick with the traditional.
If you are wondering what you can do right now to contribute, even if in the smallest way, to saving the planet, both conceptually and literally, start by flying your freak flag.
The long-term health of your mind, community, culture, and planet depends on people taking the initiative and the bold steps to swim upstream, to spread our mental genes and memes, and for each one of us to embrace our beautiful weirdness. Be the space oddity (term from the David Bowie song, 1969) you were born to be.
Cuz weird will save the world.
Lori Stephens, pNLP, CCP, WPCC is a writer, editor, publisher, Certified NLP Practitioner, Whole Person Life Coach, and the founder of ROAR Life Coaching. She specializes in Exit Strategy Coaching—helping people who are ready to quit a soul-crushing job, walk away from a toxic relationship, exit a repressive social or religious group, come out as their true sexual or gender orientation, or in some other way claim their true path. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.