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INTERESTING STUFF – 9 November 2019

Among Generations

It has been longer than it feels like to me since President Donald Trump announced he is pulling the United States out of the Paris Agreement on climate change – 1 June 2017 – proving yet again that he is dumber than I thought he was.

He followed through on that threat (yes, it is an actual threat to the survival of planet Earth) on Monday by sending paperwork to the United Nations that begins the year-long process of U.S. withdrawal from the Agreement.


As reported in the Washington Post, on Tuesday while speaking about the dire need for a stricter climate change policy, 25-year-old member of the New Zealand Parliament, Chlöe Swarbrick, reacted to a jeer about her youth with an insolent aside, “OK boomer,” before smoothly continuing her speech.

It comes so quickly at :16 seconds into this video that you can barely hear it:

Just this week, I've run into that epithet about a dozen times. As befits someone even older than the boomer generation, I am apparently way behind the curve on the slang term. In fact, as Molly Roberts writes in the Washington Post,

“OK, boomer” was fun and funny, so we said it about a million times on Twitter in the space of one day, and now it has become unfunny and lame.”

Before that happened, a conservative radio personality, Bob Lonsberry who at age 60 is a member of the Gen X generation, denounced the word “boomer” as “the n-word of ageism.”

A bit over the top, don't you think, and it misses the point but I still wondered what “OK, boomer” means. The WaPo's Molly Roberts tells us that young people use the phrase to mock their elders:

”The all-purpose reply is designed to disarm oldish people who dispense condescension dressed up as wisdom,” she writes.

“Your mom tells you that your peers’ phones are rotting their brains, and that they should spend some time outside mowing the lawn. 'OK, boomer.' “Your grandpa tells you that kids these days have lost all sense of civility because they yelled at Ellen DeGeneres for going to a football game with George W. Bush. 'OK, boomer.'

“Some random grump in your replies on Twitter tells you Greta Thunberg should go to school back in Sweden instead of gallivanting across the 50 states spreading the green gospel. 'OK, boomer.'”

To put a button on the definition, Ms. Roberts further tells us that that young people use the slogan

”...because they’re inheriting a collapsing climate, an unequal economy and endless battles overseas that they didn’t start. They’re saying a lot with very little, and by saying very little they end up saying even more.

“'OK, boomer' sends the message that the grown-ups have screwed up so totally, and are veering so speedily into irrelevance, that convincing them of anything is a waste of keyboard characters.”

So what they are saying, it seems, is that some young adults can be just as thick-headed and intolerant as some old people. (Thick-headedness is not a generation-specific trait.)

While I was tracking all this down, I recalled a video that's been around the internet in one form or another for a long time. I'm sure I must have posted before but it's relevant in a different way now:

Once again it is a matter of people - generations in this case - talking past one another when in reality they have everything in common on the subject of saving the planet. Old folks have a lifetime of experience and the young ones have the energy and stamina to do what is necessary.

Although “OK, Boomer” is clever and it may be effective (among the young people who understand its meaning) in raising awareness, it is also divisive at a time when we all need one another as never before in the history of Planet Earth.


As a pre-Boomer, this video makes me realize how truly Green we were back then.

Yes, we were truly Green!

That was a great second video (and this is a great topic) but I very much resent anyone’s lament that they’re “inheriting” a crappier planet, courtesy of previous generations. Don’t the majority of us just work & live the best we can, using the conveniences and societal mores available to us at that time? I was born in 1961 (what am I, a Baby Boomer? Gen X?) and while I admit I’ve never used an inkwell to fill my pen or dip a girl’s pigtails into, we were conscious of pollution & ecology. I grew up watching that commercial where a car zips down the highway, tossing their fast food trash out the window where it lands at the feet of a saddened Indian—I mean Native American. We knew not to pollute, but no one told us back then what all our spray cans were doing to the ozone layer.

I’m sure we would’ve been using pump-sprays & roll ons 20 years earlier if we’d known.

I remember being 11-12, my older brother & I canvassing the neighborhood for empty pop bottles (to return for 2 cents deposit & dammit why aren't we still doing that??) so we could see the new Charlton Heston movie, “Soylent Green” about Earth’s future, where everyone lives in a green haze & eats crackers made out of people because that’s pretty much all there was left to eat. No one laughed or waved it off, saying “Let the next generation worry about it”. Industry should’ve been more responsible and a lot sooner. They should've been held more accountable by our gov't.

But as I sit here typing this, Donald Trump is on my tv with his lame, mediocre ramblings about his “perfect call”. What an ignorant, delusional waste of space. I can’t help but think we’re in the mess we’re in in regards to climate change, precisely because oafs like him are allowed to be voted into public office.

The “essence” of our needs is to listen with our whole being. Stop lecturing and start with compassion and understanding with their frustration, just as we were frustrated by the old fogies of that day, way back when we were young and brash too.

Boomers screwed it up. Big time; however, show me a generation that hasn't.

Just saying......


In order to get green again, we really do need everyone across the age spectrum to get on board because without pressure from the masses on manufacturers to make the needed changes in packaging we can't get back to being as green as we "boomers" used to be. I use the clothe bags and mesh bags at the grocery store and I always note the ages of those who don't and I am seeing just as many if not more younger people using plastic as older people. I hate that we are being pitted against each other.

While appreciating your point, Ronni, I feel boomers deserve some of that derision. As usual there is enough irresponsibility to go around. In our lust for simplicity and ease we have neither recognized nor stressed enough the wisdom of making a little extra effort to treat our planet with respect. And now, we have too many boomers who support Trump with their zealous doctrine of not our job to care about anyone else.

Name-calling is a symptom of frustration and disappointment, I think. I am trying to curb doing it personally, but sometimes the names still slip out. And sometimes the idea of PC just kills my determination, ha! We all could do better.

As you say,"we all need one another as never before in the history of Planet Earth."

OK, baby snark.

Every generation inherits the triumphs--and the messes--of the preceding. At our best, we lean against a particular chosen immovable rock or two during our lifetime, hoping to budge it. Maybe we invite, encourage, harass others to join us. 'Beats bashing our heads against it, or worse, bashing others' heads because they haven't moved the rock far or fast enough.

I'm a war baby, not a boomer. That's a distinction missed or dismissed by most people. As a kid I returned pop bottles for deposits, sold bundles of coat hangers back to the cleaners, and took bundles of old newspapers to a collection point for recycling. We were not ignorant of threats to the earth. Remember Rachel Carson (born 1940) and Silent Spring published in 1962? Instead of focusing on differences in generations, we all need to work together or we'll all go down together.

I was in the "Summer of Love", 1967. I actually had hair and it went to the middle of my back.
I was deeply involved with the west coast music scene. We were all very idealistic and definitely earth oriented. Reality and 50 years changes a lot of things, but inside the idealism
is still there. Now I watch and listen. Many of the same goals are still there. I wish those with the energy and youth to pursue these lofty ideals. I only wish I could hear their frustration 50 years later when it's not all done. After all, weed didn't become legal in 1970! B

I agree with what everyone is saying that we are all in this together and shouldn't be fighting with the younger generation. That said, though, I have been absolutely livid this week as I've heard the OK Boomer thing hurled about in the media. One young woman asked to explain it said that it is intended as an insult to elders because they didn't do anything about climate change when the had the chance, and her generation doesn't feel that there is anything that they, as individuals, can do. Isn't that the problem?? Like others here, I used glass bottles for milk/soda as long as they were available, moving into plastic only when it was the only option. We didn't think there was much we could do individually, either, and we did what we could. One young woman who has a radio show on NPR was very hostile toward boomers, and I wanted to tell her that without our generation, who bravely forced our way into the hostile male-dominated world of radio and TV, she would not have been hired. Sorry about the rant.

Well said, Ronni.

As you others pointed out, we old farts were quite concerned about environmental issues. I have bought turbinado sugar since the 70s because of the ill effects of bleaching the sugar (if I remember correctly!). Jimmie Carter had plans to make us independent of oil, which Reagan reversed.

Generalizations are all false, and trying to label a whole generation is ridiculous. This stupid phrase, to me, is a good example of the superficiality and rush to judgement of whatever letter this generation is!

What Ken said!❤️

You are so correct that we need unity between generations, and all facets of our lives — seeking what we have in common, uniting to resolve the problems faced in our universe. Thanks for sharing this video as I hadn’t seen it.

Labeling groups of people can be abused all too often by generalizing what they are assumed to believe, or how they’ll act, etc., rather than simply focusing on a specific issue. This leads to divisiveness as we see modeled in our White House.

I have had it up to here with the anti-boomer snark. Why does nobody remember that we
boomers (yes, I am one--born 1947--) were deeply involved in the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, the women's movement, the gay rights movement? The first Earth Day happened in 1970, when boomers were just coming of age, and they jumped into the environmental movement in droves.

Every generation has its good and bad actors, and to claim that a whole generation is better than another is ridiculous. The so-called "greatest generation" was the greatest for white men, but not so much for everybody else.

We-ll, the older woman was right about back in the day, but she's so wrong to fill up her shopping cart with plastic bags. I couldn't help wondering why her past wisdom had been dropped along the way. Nobody, no age group has all the answers, which is why we all need to each other.

Wow. This loaded list of ways we once conserved and prevented environmental waste is both true and amazing when everything is combined in a viral rant. I am familiar with everything on the list and it all worked quite well until certain items (e.g. glass milk bottles) were no longer available. However, Doug M throws in some truth when he maintains that if the various easy-on and single-use products had been available, many people might have used them without any compunctions, human nature being what it is. When I mentioned the cloth diaper thing to my granddaughter, a new mother, she was shocked that we actually had to touch baby shit. I don’t know whether, given an alternative, I might have felt the same way she does.

The fact is, though, we didn’t have alternatives and we managed to exist quite well with what we had. Salinda has a point about the old woman’s plastic grocery bags—something this very old woman has never used—but she didn’t invent them and perhaps she uses them only because it’s difficult to carry heavily loaded paper or reusable bags.

It is cheaper to pay for grocery store bags (5 cents each) than it is to buy a box of plastic bags designed to line kitchen garbage cans. Same function is achieved around the house and you don't have a box to recycle.

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