Climate generation versus ok boomers?

Should we pit young people committed to the environmental cause against selfish seniors, who would be indifferent to this situation? Serge Guérin, author of the book “What if old people also saved the planet?” attempts to answer these questions.



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Climate change, climate crisis, 74% of those under 35, and as many of those over 65, say they are worried about the consequences of climate change for France.  (MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRA / GETTY IMAGES)

To overcome the opposition between the “climate generation” and “OK boomers”, we must make room for reflection and action between generations, this is what Serge Guérin explains in his book What if old people also saved the planet ? published by Michalon editions.

A study carried out in 2022 in around ten countries shows that more than half of young people think that “humanity is doomed.” But things are more complicated. The author and sociologist Serge Guérin attempts to brush aside this rather contemptuous discourse on seniors, accused of doing nothing for the climate, even though they bear responsibility for the situation.

“We will not live in a wonderfully ecological world if we are all alone in our corner, that will not work. Primary ecology is how we have an intelligent, peaceful, benevolent relationship with others, and ecology , like the demographic question. How I pay attention to older people may contribute to that.”

Sergue Guérin, sociologist

at franceinfo

There is therefore not a generation of young people blessed by the gods of ecology against a generation of rotten old people defending pollution.

“We are also in a special moment in the country, adds Serge Guérin, where for a part anyway, it falls apart a lot. And perhaps the awareness of ‘we are in the same boat’ on both issues – because we are already caught up – we will continue to be caught up by climate change, and we will be more and more caught up by demographic changes.”

And to continue: “The IPCC has been teaching us this for quite some time. You just had to look at the demographic figures to know that there was going to be an issue. There were no politicians who took the risk. In the end, there were quite a few people in the population who, at the beginning, became aware of it. We are always caught up with reality.”

Ecological transition, demographic transition: the double challenge.  Sociologist Serge Guérin has just published this book with Michalon.  (MICHALON ESSAIS EDITIONS)

Serge Guérin, based on studies and polls such as the one carried out by Ipsos in October 2023, explains that 74% of those under 35, and as many of those over 65, say they are worried about the consequences of climate change for France. . “The determining element in this regard is not age, but gender: women are much more sensitive to the issue than men, 80% of them are worried compared to 67% of men!” underlines the sociologist.

“Many seek to essentialize all behaviors, to lock everyone into an identity. However, we are plural social animals with a diversity of identities, histories and personalities.”

Serge Guérin

at franceinfo

In practice, the civic engagement of older people for the environment can take different forms, as illustrated by the examples of actions of associations belonging to the network of grandparents for the climate.

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