Today’s youth is presented with an interesting opportunity regarding the sustainability of our planet.
In years past, environmental issues were addressed by the flowerchild—the longhaired descendants of privileged parents who traversed the globe chaining themselves to rocks, smoking various herbal remedies, in search for a deeper connection to “the Spirit Earth, man”. Okay, maybe I’m generalizing a bit, but today’s conservationists can be found just about anywhere. This growth in concern could stem from a number of different places. Maybe the flowerchild image has become naturally internalized through some sort of Darwinian evolution of species, creating a new subconscious desire to skip class and start growing hemp to make handbags for impoverished children.
Maybe we’re all terrified of the inconvenient truth of environmental apocalypse.
Maybe we acknowledge that we’re it, the last line of defense against our own destruction.

That’s my vote.

As unromantic as it may sound, the reality of this concern comes from simple survival, and as much as we would have liked for this burden to land on the shoulders of some other generation, it hasn’t.

But all is not lost.

Alongside struggle comes opportunity.

Alternative energies present career opportunities for students in almost every college major. Energy has handed engineers, business school students, natural scientists, economists, linguists, and humanitarians new job opportunities. So the flowerchild archetype gives way to the driven young opportunist, a change that in my opinion is far more constructive.
Chaining yourself to a tree for a year sends a statement, but finding new ways to maximize post-consumer wood, pulp, and paper presents a solution.
The current generation of young people have the opportunity to find solutions, and finding these solutions appear to be quite lucrative for recent graduates.

Saving the Earth from destruction is nice also.

Collier Bailey
Research Intern at Meridian Solar, Inc.