Gen 2030: Working for the Next Generation
In the first quarter of 2012 NBI staff welcomed three new babies – all boys. The obvious puns followed: New Boys Institute, New Babies Inevitable. Late last year the connection of these new lives joining us in 2012 occurred to me – particularly in light of the fact that my only child, a daughter, had turned 18 and left for university. These new babies will turn 18 in 2030 – the target year for efforts and initiatives toward a reduction in carbon and an improvement in the course toward damaging climate change. Babies bring hope, joy and a selflessness that mirrors the societal strengths that enable positive change.
At 18, with the oil embargo and first Earth Day as formative events in my young life, I thought that much of these issues would be resolved by 2012. I determined that my life’s work investment would be toward a sustainable future, reduction in resource use, and creating an inspiring and joyful future for next generations. Never has that work been more pressing or more rewarding than the present.
And now we have Gen 2030. I held them in my arms just last week, and their photos circulate among our small but growing staff. Our work is magnified in their awakening eyes, our purpose clearly a balance between giving at home and engaging at work to create their best possible future.
Eban Goodstein works to inspire and educate youth through The Bard Center for Environmental Policy and the C2C*. He recently posited “How will you spend your twenties? Working as a barista or bartender, interning for a law or marketing firm, or volunteering for an NGO? Trying to pay off loans, trying to hang on to your college years, hitting a club on the weekend? Or saving the world? The next decade is an extraordinary time in the history of the human species. To control global warming and meet post-peak oil energy demand, your generation has to rapidly rewire the world with clean energy.”
I heard that message at 18 and came to understand that ‘clean energy’ begins with less energy. At NBI we continue to lead and work collaboratively to create technical, policy and market solutions that build on yesterday’s experiences, today’s knowledge and tomorrow’s potential. Our newest reports on Deep Energy Savings and Zero Energy Buildings prove that the future is now. Our buildings can use little to no energy to meet occupant and business needs.
From my youth, to my daughter, to Gen 2030, the thread continues to be woven. As I once heard Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt of the Natural Step put it beautifully: “No one goes to work in the morning intending to cause the earth or people damage.” We must draw on our commonalities of interest, not our disparities - regardless of our age – to keep moving toward the 2030 Challenge. Climate adaptation is indeed needed, but we must first and foremost prioritize and pursue greater efficiency in the energy we’re using today. It is the finest manifestation of our intellect, technologies and love of children.
*C2C stands for Campus to Congress, to Capitol, to City Hall, and also for Campus to Corporation. C2C stands for young people gaining control of their future. C2C Fellows is the power network for young people with the wisdom, ambition, talent, and grace to change the future