Are millennials being labeled fairly? Various studies and articles have been published in an attempt to identify and label the attributes of the generation called Millennials also known as Generation Y. In TIME Magazine’s May cover story entitled, “The Me Me Me Generation”, they were characterized as lazy, narcissistic and possibly delusional. In contrast, The Atlantic depicted them, in “The Cheapest Generation”, as exhibiting a quirky eco-consciousness that favors access over ownership.
According to car manufacturers FORD and General Motors, today’s youth don’t care about owning a car despite dealers’ efforts to generate sales. Earlier this week, Kelly Ripa announced on Live! with Kelly and Michael that her son Michael, who just turned 16 years old, was puzzled by family friends inquiring if he got a new car. Since WWII, spending on new cars and housing has historically enabled our economy to thrive. But according to recent reports the demand for drivers licenses by teenagers has significantly dropped. This generation is more interested in having owning a smartphone to stay connected, than the burden of a vehicle with ever increasing fuel costs. As millennials become increasingly car-averse, this shift offers the opportunity to introduce more sustainable options.
Millenials are the most environmentally engaged generation with about two-thirds in agreement that global warming is real and another 43% blame human activity for the extent of this growing problem. Given these traits in combination with their desire to reform our society they provide a pivotal role in helping the world face critical social and economic challenges.
While Baby Boomers tend to choose a top down approach, millennials prefer community-based or grassroots engagement from the bottom up. The millennial generation is hyper-informed, and while some may exhibit an imbalance between their education level and actual field experience they are willing to create change and tackle the world’s problems. The Internet Age has primed millennials for activism as they are hyperconnected, civic-minded and socially engaged on forums and commenting platforms where they readily share and explore ideas.
Armed with fresh ideas and the technology to create an audience, this generation has adopted new tools, technology and crowdsourcing methods to generate awareness, advocates and funding. Through these innovative collaborations, transformative ideas will evolve to help solve tough global challenges. These so-called narcissistic traits may actually make possible the generational shifts to align the desires of consumers with the new systems and processes that must be developed for future generations to thrive.
More from living