Ancient central Australian rocks
Is Gen-Y losing physical contact with and understanding of the outdoors? Photo: Kata Tjuta, NT, ©Tony Neilson

A taste of millennial ignorance

‘What’s the environment?’

Believe it or not, that was a real question from ‘university-educated and politically left millennials’ of a person fronting an environmental display at a recent event in Australia.

I’m not at liberty to name names, but I know the guy whose gob was smacked by the rawness of the question, and I don’t doubt the veracity of his report.

“I asked [the millennials] what bit of the environment where they interest in. Could I reduce [the answer] to a less-boring Tweet, they said, as they weren’t really interested [themselves], but some other people they knew were.

Virtual world

“I was completely taken-aback and thought this might be an unrepresentative group. But the millennials I work with said the people they know are just like that: a computer-addicted, inward-looking group living in a virtual world of information consumption. They are focused on ‘trending issues’, not salt spray in your face.”

My ‘source’ said he felt really, really old all of a sudden. “I was even told [by the millennials at the event] that a lot of the ‘humanistic collective good’ types of thing I talked about were laughable and old hat. It was all about personal rights, according to them … The only interesting things happen on screen, or to them personally.”

No experience

He likened the encounter to a recent blog of mine about the ‘Death of Experience’ and how the future of the environment as we know it will likely be left in the hands of an age group where more than 40 percent (in Australia) have no experience of the ‘great outdoors’.

In saying that, they will be hard-pressed to do a worse job of looking after the planet than the present generation, and those that have gone before.

My faith in the future rests with my two little granddaughters who are learning with the help of their parents, some cheap binoculars, good books, challenging camping trips and Dora the Explorer about the natural world and all of its wonders.

©Tony Neilson, Natural Images 2018


©2018 TONY NEILSON All Rights Reserved. All images are protected by Australian copyright law and cannot be downloaded or reproduced without my permission. Please contact me.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Time to go beyond being an end-of-story comment person.
To write a blog post or submit some of your best images with the backstory, please contact Tony Neilson.