„Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. …. Greed in all of its forms, greed for life, for money, for love, for knowledge, …“ Gordon Gecko, a fictional character, preached in 1987’s „Wall Street“, the year I was born.
Starting 2017, a new year, with fresh plans on how to improve, it makes sense to see how we evolved as Generation Y in the modern day world.
The late 1980s were marked by substantial economic growth, followed by the dot-com bubble in the 1990s that lead to the well-known collapse. The reckless greed for money, however, prevailed as we were led to the subprime mortgage crisis in 2007, the effects of which we are still seeing today, 10 years later. It was all about getting richer, no matter the cost to family, society, wildlife or nature.
For us, growing up as a Millennial meant to live in a world of plenty. We were our parents‘ children and became wild consumers, thanks to very clever marketing. Carbon footprint or global warming were unknown words to us. With the development of computers and the internet, we managed to be instantaneously connected globally, learning about the impact of our consumerism on the environment outside of our protected world (school and home), in virtual chat rooms, or through instant messaging; writing with strangers.
We grew up witnessing massive oil spills, destroying our environment quickly and effectively. Baby Boomers or Gen X would drive their gas-guzzling cars without ever wondering how the petrol actually impacted local wildlife and how much nature was destroyed for each barrel produced. Gen Y started asking unpleasant questions, and investigations led to tighter emissions-laws, which led to manufacturers developing less polluting cars all the way to fully electric cars. Today this eco-movement is supported by many developed governments.
Farmed animals such as pigs, cows and chickens suffer immensely since factory farming was developed with the rising demand for more affluent foods post-WWII. Paul McCartney said in a PETA-interview that if „slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian“. Our parents and grandparents would eat their food on the table, without ever questioning how it went from field to plate. Gen Y didn’t accept this naïveté and food transparency became a large movement in our generation. Quality of food ingredients was forced to change over the last twenty years, and it became a selling point to offer grass-fed, organically grown, cage-, dairy-, meat- and generally cruelty-free foods.
People started to avoid buying from large corporations in favor of smaller, better-controlled producers. The same goes for fisheries, fruits and vegetables. We try to avoid illegally caught fish from gillnetting, and prefer to know whether any Formaldehyde was used maintain fish fresh. People pay attention that their avocados don’t come from harvests under the control of Mexican drug cartels, when years ago, nobody even knew there was such a thing as Blood Avocados. Were those berries treated with pesticides? Is that corn GMO?
People nowadays want to know where their food comes from, who raised it and how. They want to know it has only had to travel a short way from farm to table. After all, reducing our carbon foot print is our Generation’s aim. We already dramatically changed the way we buy food, but there is still room for improvement.
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