Boomers – We’re Not too Old to Learn

In an earlier post, we put most of the blame for climate change on Boomers (those of us born between 1946 and 1964). There was no great public outcry. Apparently, most of my fellow Boomers accept that it’s mostly our fault. Let’s briefly recap why we should take responsibility.

Relatively speaking, Boomers born and/or raised in developed countries had it good. WWII was over and jobs were plentiful. We have never experienced a world war or a depression. Our parents did and were generally cautious about spending, especially needlessly, money. Boomers weren’t.

We came to love stuff. More stuff, newer stuff, bigger stuff, faster stuff. Life was good, we deserved lots of stuff and so did our kids. We didn’t have to like their clothes or music, but we decided being a good parent meant they had to have lots of both and more.

Boomers – not all of course – didn’t conserve, we consumed; didn’t repair, we replaced. In doing so, we taught Gen Xers and Millennials that’s what life is supposed to be all about.

The problem is that more and more stuff eventually costs much more than goes on our credit cards. We are rapidly depleting our natural resources and trashing our planet.

Most of us Boomers may be gone before the final bill comes due. But, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care. We helped break it and we, not future generations, should pay for it. Many of us are fortunate enough to be financially secure and and most of us have, or will soon retire and will have the time to help start to fix the problem. Perhaps most importantly, we tend to vote in significant numbers. The best and only way to get politicians to act is to let them know that they will be out of a job if they don’t.

Here’s a few hints on how to help us wake up and smell the roses. Combating climate change will be a pocketbook issue. We Boomers tend to be fond of our money and a sustainable future isn’t going to come cheap. There won’t be a quick, profitable return on investment. We need to be shown the positive benefits of long-term investments in everybody’s future.

Not all Boomers have kids, so talk about the legacy of not having left the world a worse place than we found it. If your Boomer does have kids, appeal to the heart. Most of us want our kids and grand-kids to have a healthy and happy life. That is a parent’s true legacy.

Good luck Gen Xers and Millennials. Don’t give up on us old guys.

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