This article on “The Greenest Generation” makes some interesting points. But you have to understand that this whole idea of changing the world by changing people’s consciousness and thence changing their individual consumer habits is inherently Boomer (born 1943-1960)/Generation X (born 1961-1981) are of the opinion that if you really want to change overall social behavior, impose a universal constraint or incentive—otherwise, leave it alone. Require it of everyone and allow no gaming… otherwise, leave everyone alone.
I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not surprised at the incoherence of the Millennial response to this particular line of questioning. Millennial approach: Try to be absolutely certain about the link between individual behavioral cause and negative social effect; quantify that link; assess universal incentives needed to change behavior and balance losses against gains; finally, enact the solution and police for violators. Boomer/Xer approach: Suggest some personal activity that carries high symbolic resonance (like re-using bags at a supermarket), and then using hortatory language to get many on board. I’m not saying the second approach is bad; it’s sets the table, so to speak. But the Millennials are looking for something different.
Implementing the Millennial solution, you will get maximum results with relatively little individual sacrifice (since everyone will be sacrificing). Implementing the Boom-X solution, you will get disappointing results even with constant haranguing that makes everyone feel miserable.