Elders Need to OWN Our Role, Take Less Offence, Empower & Support Youth

I made a comment on facebook that “The youth are rising to the solve the disasters left by their elders.” When I shared the news that an 18 year old had invented a solution to microplastics in the ocean.

Comments by two individuals took offence and I found it really interesting. Here are the comments, followed by my thoughts. <3

Interesting idea!
I do want to mention however that I personally find your comment rather hurtful. Not all youth are rising to solve the problem and not all elders are the cause of it. I know some very passionate “ elders” and “ youth” who couldn’t care less.
You’re not the only one doing this so don’t take it personally but I come across these sorts of comments time and time again. Don’t forget hindsight is a fine thing...

My reply:

Thank you for your comment and your opinion! <3 I come from love & openness as we discuss this. <3 and so appreciate the opportunity to reflect more deeply on this. <3 I feel that if this comment is a reoccurring theme, perhaps it is a call out for more elders to step up. I hear & feel SO MUCH from my younger followers. They are so eager for guidance, for positive leadership, for elders to offer support & reassurance! Since our society is not tribal or community-centric as it once was, I know we all suffer from fewer role models with integrity, purpose, passion, courage, etc. Look at the "role models" the media puts forward for youth to emulate. Perhaps we can look at this less as an attack and more as an invitation to be more vocal elders, more supportive of the youth, encouraging, brave and courageous in our lifestyle changes and our political actions and our community organising and our purchasing decisions. VOCAL about climate emergency. VOCAL about fossil fuels. VOCAL about renewables. VOCAL. So the youth doesn't feel so alone & abandoned. When they learn in science class the earth is melting & their governments deny it, they are stressed. We as elders need to show up for our youth. For ourselves! For our planet. For our future, our safety, and for the future the younger generations inevitably inherit. <3 <3 <3


He incarnated with this knowledge (which is very interesting) so he isn’t a solution provider because he’s “young”. I don’t think we need more divisions...

My reply:

He is a solution provider! AND he's young! What a legend! I celebrate this! The disasters are real. We support each other by acknowledging the truth of this reality. <3 <3 <3

I do not want to disempower elders, only encourage more positive change across all demographics. This is a statement meant to show that I understand the panic and I am proud of the youth rising up.

I do not believe this is divisive. Especially because I feel a part of both elders and youth. Perhaps this is my experience of time. I do not not feel bound by time, this allows me to settle into the organic, natural flow of life and relax into a manageable pace of purpose pursuit, nature play, and less comparison to my peers.

I feel both an elder, taking responsibility for my unconscious consumption when I was growing up. And I feel connected to the panic I felt when I was young and the action I took when I realised my responsibility on our planet and the extreme commitment to quit plastics and thus reduce my eco-footprint.

I agree there are many youth who do not care and many elders who care immensely. Generalisations are rarely safe. More importantly, I do know that youth/ children across the age spectrum are in therapy because of the climate crisis and subsequent planetary fear. They cannot vote. They feel helpless. Thus, I am incredibly proud of the youth that are stepping up in a big way for the planet. They are under immense psychological stress as they wonder what future they will inherit.

As elders, as adults, we have the maturity and the resources to make more or perhaps a different, and necessary change. I am just as proud of the elders stepping up and may we see more of all ages rising to the challenge!

This post aims to empower the youth that they CAN and are making a difference. Not meant to disempower elders. We all are responsible for how things affect us. And now armed with this enlightening, revealing, devastating hindsight--we understand the consequences of our actions, we who have participated in the mass consumption and industrial era that has caused the climate disaster, we must make drastic changes to our lifestyles. Sure, many elders live connected to nature. Generally, I feel the older generation is a bit stuck. This is my perception. I am open to discussion on this. I can only be responsible for my own experience and perceptions. When I feel triggered by something I try to understand why. I look at the mirror. I look for the lesson.

If these statements trigger elders, maybe it’s time to reflect on WHY. Is there more we can do as elders? Is there more we can do to support the youth who will inherit the planet? Can we focus on seeing less division ourselves? And instead seeing the opportunities for support and light and love and celebration?


Kathryn NelsonComment