October 6, 2008
Writer Eric Greenberg pulled together the results of over eighteen months of research, polls and focus groups to prove one thing: the Millennial Generation is a force to be reckoned with. Through his new book, and a website, Greenberg is harnessing the thoughts and energy of a younger generation.
GenWe was Greenberg's project to help the Millennial Generation empower itself against much scrutiny. Speaking with US News, he said:
"They are not a 'me' generation; they are the 'we' generation," he says. "They are about the greater good," he adds, noting that they're really jazzed up about the environment and the energy crisis. Armed with his huge study, he's urging both presidential campaigns to focus on one mega-idea the kids endorsed; an Apollo-style approach to the energy crisis."
According to the extensive data in GenWe there are between 95 and 100 million people born between 1978 and 2000, and now more than ever those over 95 million young people are united around the same political issues and visions.
The book also makes the case that Millennials are:
- Dedicated to improving the common good over individual gain, a sentiment that crosses all racial, ideological and partisan lines.
- Reject fundamental principles of modern conservatism –primary focus on individual rights and trickle down economics.
- Welcome innovation and are eager to establish a new. paradigm
Greenberg describes many of the issues our world faces today, such as the climate crisis, are of importance for younger folks. These issues span across parties, races, genders, and location. According to the book, Republicans and democrats agree on these issues 85 percent of the time.
"Youth don't realize they have more in common with each other than anything else," Greenberg said in a phone interview. "They have a balance of power in the world more than anyone else, and collectively have a lot of power globally."
He urges Millennials not to put off these problems until tomorrow.
The presidential election is only the first step. The second step is encapsulated on the website that gives young voters and organizations practical organizing tools, from fifteen minute activism to weekend projects and legislation.
I haven't made my way all the way through the book, but had to write about it because what I have read is exactly the thing we needed to prove both to ourselves, major donors, and mainstream media that we are doing important political work.