Some social commentators have placed this burgeoning carbon movement in the same bracket as earlier social movements populated by young people. They say the Sixties was the anti-war decade; the Seventies saw marches against racism at home and apartheid abroad; if it's the Eighties it must be Ban the Bomb and Maggie Out!; the Nineties was roads and anti-globalisation; and the Noughties, this decade, is about climate change. We'll soon be on to something else, right?Right.
We're not the Noughties. This isn't the next fad. The naive popular narrative that "every generation has their thing" and that climate is ours - that we're the "Facebook generation" - simply does not hold. This isn't about being disaffected and rebellious without a cause. This isn't about dropping out, rejecting the norm, culture jamming and hacking the system. This isn't even about altruism. It's not just about defending the rights and lives of those who are less fortunate than us, and it certainly isn't about polar bears. This is about us. For the millennial generation the patronising cliches fall apart, because this isn't about ideals so much as hard science and the terrifying reality that what the scientists have been warning us all about for years - those sea level rises, catastrophic droughts and melting ice caps - will now happen in our lifetimes.That paragon of hard science, James "Coal = Death" Hansen, is mentioned.