Column | Rise of the Generation-Z
GUWAHATI: On 15th March 2019, thousands of young students in more than 120 locations around the world “bunked” school to stage a protest against the leniency in efforts taken against climate change and the demand for stronger action on the same by their respective governments.
This butterfly effect was instigated by a 16-year-old, Greta Thunberg, a Swedish environmental activist who used to skip school on Fridays to protest against climate change in front of the Swedish parliament. Protests have occurred around the world, through the ages for various reasons, but a student-led global uprising of this magnitude was unprecedented. This might bring many to a conflict with their previous conviction that youngsters, especially students, should never engage in political affairs of any kind. But a global resolve having such clarity, resonating among students in all major cities of the world, leaves us with a bittersweet conclusion.
First, it points out the fact that the youth of the world completely are unhappy with the present mechanism to tackle climate change and much of the talk hasn’t yet been practically implemented. Second, on a brighter note, the youth is now aware, and more importantly vigilant, to the extent that they have now challenged the previously held convictions, because all of this directly impacts their own future.
Generation Z comprises those born in the late 1990s and early 2000s whose population is set to outgrow the millennial population by 2019, according to the World Economic Forum. This is a generation that is characterised by the internet, the digital sphere and social media. This generation is the first “global generation” and are seen to have more in common with their global peers than with the adults of their own country. This brings us to a few very interesting conclusions which might seek to explain why intrinsically the strike happened.
Global awareness and a global culture redefined mostly by social media has been adopted by much of the youth which has made them question differences and the boundaries between them. They had never been subject to strong centralisation by the government as was evident in the late 20th century, and aided by the unrestricted freedom offered by social media, has left them in want of nothing less than full independence and control over their lives.
Lastly, they have been born into a constantly expanding web of information that is shared, spread and interpreted by this information savvy generation at any given instance. Henceforth, a global resolve, brought about by a global culture, aided by the easy access to information, and the strong desire to be independent, had resulted in what happened, which by far and large, is not the end of it.