A Millennial’s Perspective

Mar 27, 2015
By Stephanie Price, coordinator of the Healthy Buildings Social Media Outreach team

By Stephanie Price

My generation is different from previous generations because we grew up in the era of instantaneous access to information.  We are used to the idea that anyone can fact-check anything, instantly; we have an unprecedented ability to share our thoughts and feelings with each other, through written words, audio, pictures, and videos; and we can access this information literally ANYWHERE.  I feel fortunate to live in a world where human beings can instantaneously connect. But, on the flip side, we all have responsibilities to be aware of with such instant and universal communication – responsibilities toward the privacy of others, and not making false claims that can ricochet around the world in minutes.

This instant access – through YouTube, Netflix, Twitter, Facebook, and many other sites – has shaped my understanding of how my actions and attitudes affect the world I live on.  In fact, this access has changed my opinions in many ways. For example, I knew the use of coal and oil, though obviously necessary for the progress of our civilization today, harmed the environment. Good people all over the world were trying to come up with solutions that would reduce or eliminate our dependence on it.  I thought, these “dirty energy” sources were just a part of life, and I would change when someone else created a better solution for society.  Then the Arab Spring happened, and I saw, through the camera phones of Arabs my age, how the desire for oil turned an entire region of the world into a war-torn disaster zone.  Shortly after that, I saw a YouTube video of a glacier cleaving the biggest chunk of ice ever recorded – bigger than lower Manhattan! – into the ocean to melt away.

At that point, I had to see more.  I just typed a few words into Google, and I was flooded with information about how our use of unsustainable resources affects the environment and people. I checked those things through multiple sources to make sure they were true. All of those images, videos and blogs I found made me think about how my actions of pumping gas into my car to commute, powering my house using electricity that is produced by a coal-burning power plant, etc. were affecting my world, and how urgently civilization needs to change.

In addition to the harm that depleting our environment causes, our ever-more digitally-connected society is starving people of actual human connection. A great documentary about this is “Web Junkies” (available on Netflix), which is about Internet addiction in China.  I am so thankful that I have instant access to information, but I am also thankful to live in a safe, beautiful community.  I am thankful to have a wonderful family and emotionally-supportive friends. But, even though I have more access to information now than ever before and I can stay connected to hundreds of people all the time, I’m finding it harder and harder to introduce myself to my neighbors. I believe EVERYONE deserves to have the support of community and family, and that just can’t happen through a text message or a Facebook post.  So, I try to think of how my actions affect others – not just in terms of “use of resources,” – but also in terms of “actual connection to other human beings.”

I recently started working at Healthy Buildings, and I am so excited to be involved with a company that addresses these concerns, my concerns.  This small company can solve multiple big issues that face our future planet: housing problems, environmental problems, community problems, and more.  It absolutely blows my mind how incredible this place is, and how motivated, intelligent, and dedicated my co-workers are.  I truly believe we have the potential here to change the world.

Changing the current status quo is critically important. I know so many things in our lives today are dependent on unsustainable resources. I know that it’s up to me and my generation – the Millennials – to change it. We have the tools, we have the information, and we have the heart. And I know, deep down, that we can and will do it.

We Millennials have a lot of work ahead of us, and I know we aren’t going let the world down.

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If you want to know more about what Healthy Buildings and Thriving Communities are doing to make the world a better place, please check out the full websites: www.hbusa.net and www.thrivingcommunities.com