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Millennials Are Environmentalists but We're Also Realists about Energy

February 5, 2019 - 8:30am

Coddled. Delicate. The “tea cup generation” that doesn’t know or appreciate where things come from, takes more than it gives back and must be handled with extra care.

As a millennial, born in 1997, those are my generation’s stereotypes.

Recently, a friend’s father said environmentalism was my generation’s new religion, that millennials wander aimlessly looking for a cause. That cause, I was told, is defending Mother Earth. 

To some degree, that’s true.

But what’s misunderstood is the assumption that when it comes to the environment, we only care about renewable energy. That it's “wind and solar — or die!”

What an absurd notion, and quite frankly, ridiculous.   

As a young professional only a few years into my career, I’m far from being at the top of the salary payroll. Like other generations did starting out, I work hard to stretch every dollar.

Yes, I have high-efficiency appliances. I recycle. I unplug my Keurig after each use, and I make every effort to spend more time outdoors than indoors. I work hard and play hard. My free time belongs to me, and the term “overtime” means back-to-back hikes, not logging extra hours at the office.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t understand or appreciate how energy empowers my lifestyle. That includes fossil fuels. I may support wind and solar, but that doesn’t mean I hate or resent fossil fuels.

Like many, I don’t go anywhere without a computer in my pocket. I call, email, text, schedule and research almost everything I do on my phone — which is made with a combination of plastics, aluminum and processor chips from rare earth minerals, and is powered by electricity, which statistically is more likely to come from coal or natural gas than wind or solar power.

The furniture in my house is simple and modern, manufactured with a variety of woods, metals, synthetic materials and plastics commonly made from polypropylene resin, a plastic polymer with a range of uses, including car parts, diapers and, obviously, furniture.

The planes to my favorite travel destinations also run on jet fuel. Natural gas and coal-fired power plants produce the electricity used by manufacturers to make or fuel hybrid buses and carbon fiber-framed bikes.

While I do curiously wonder about what will power our future and what magic materials things will be made of — or how artificial intelligence will intuitively run our power grid — I also understand and respect what powers my everyday life and allows me to live the life I want to live. That’s fossil fuels.

Do I consider myself an environmentalist? You bet I do. That’s because I have researched and learned the term “environmentally friendly” isn’t always what it seems to be, and we must acknowledge the fact that some of the products made from greener substitutes are inferior, can be depleted or need someplace to grow.

The reality is the fossil fuel industry is a business. It’s not an ideology, and it’s not a cause, like environmentalism is or has become. Businesses must adapt to stay in business. Think efficiencies. When efficiency improvements lower cost — and in many cases, uses less energy or less expensive materials — the business and environment win. Every CEO in America is continually looking for opportunities where that happens.

So, unless you’re willing to turn your phone in, sell your car and bike, walk to work and live in the wilderness, think for a second where the things you rely on come from.

Makayla Buchanan is the government affairs coordinator for Consumer Energy Alliance. She is based in Tallahassee.


At least you sound like YOUR "head is on straight" 'Kiddo'... as opposed to some of the decrepit "comment trolls" on THIS site (who would us still using corncobs at "commode time")...

Looks like a little remedial English writing 101 is in order . . . . . . . . just more crude C Breeze statements from a proven liar and racist (e.g. many other SSN comments) . . . . . . . as always . . . . . . PATHETIC . . . . .

When the only thing you have is an attack on grammar and name calling, you lost before you even began typing.

Thanks for the newbie peanut gallery nonsense . . . . . . . . . you obviously haven't been on SSN long enough (i.e. first post appears to be Jan. 30th) to observe the full scope of racist, name-calling raging rants by C Breeze . . . . . . . . . even the right wingers are appalled . . . . . . . . .

Sigh . . . . an only slightly subtle push for Florida off-shore seismic testing and oil drilling exploration. . . . . .Mykala is the Communications Social Media Coordinator for the Consumer Energy Alliance . . . . . . which is basically a non-profit front group for the energy industry that opposes carbon standards and promotes offshore and land-based drilling for oil and methane gas . . . . . they support lifting restrictions on offshore oil drilling and were created with backing from BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Marathon, and Shell, among others . . . . . their Board of Directors includes lobbyists for extractive energy industries . . . . . . . . so what would you expect Mykala to say in an op-ed, which is what this is . . . . . . . at least FPL, which does not appear to be an alliance member, has gotten the message and is heavily investing in solar . . . . . . . . to believe that non-sustainable energy sources are sustainable for Florida's future . . . . . . . . is delusional . . . . . . and a little PATHETIC . . . .

Until we are able to implement the only viable energy solution, which is clean modern nuclear, we must use the energy sources that we have. Taking affordable energy away from America will severely damage our economy. Unfortunately, many of the left wing would prefer economic failure just so they can blame it on President Trump.

No one is "taking it away" . . . . . . . to try and use today's price as the excuse why to not develop today's and tomorrow's needed sustainable energy sources is as bone-headed as discounting the harm that today's energy source extraction continually creates . . . . . . . . and when it comes to economic failure, Trump (as in almost all things) has proven himself incapable of preventing it and instead likes to light the tariff and tax fires to help make an economic crisis happen even faster . . . . . . . . . . and that's just . . . . . . . . PATHETIC . . .

America's President

You're providing a link to a Trump approval rating from a chinese news source . . . . . . you must be hard up . . . . . . . that's simply . . . . . . PATHETIC . . . .

So Rasmussen is now "chinese"? Ha ha ha! is a chinese news source, regardless of who the article is supposedly citing . . . . and if you truly believe that Trump's approval rating is above 50% among all voters, that's truly . . . . . . . PATHETIC . . .

Thank you, Makayla, for giving us hope for sanity out of your generation. If only more in your generation could get the ear of the media and spread the word...

Thank you, Makayla, for giving us hope for sanity out of your generation. If only more in your generation could get the ear of the media and spread the word...

Great insight and perspective. The truth sometimes stings a little.

On a side note a free market grid system for Florida where anyone can buy, sell power to anyone is being checked for wording as a constitutional amendment in 2020 for the voters to decide...…………….Then like in Texas where they have a similar system, clean utilities are kicking FF one's buts being cheaper without much pollution!!…....... So let the market decide. No?.............I mean whom wants to pay more for polluting power that make few Florida jobs?...................Now watch the coming smear campaign, fearmongering, etc trying to stop lower cost clean power in a free market ... ;^)..............Luckily utilities got caught trying to rig the last solar votes and the good one won by 70+%!!. Can't come fast enough.

Apparently the stereotypes were correct. She doesn't care as long as it is not hurting her now...……….But even in that she is wrong...…………. There is a basic fact now, RE costs less than FFs and with little of FFs pollution cutting about 6% of US human lifespan, raising healthcare, mostly taxpayer paid and in the last 30 yrs in Florida, put 5k sq miles under salt water...……………… Places where it use to only flood in a bad storm now floods by the spring tide , killing all the grass, trees and just smelling foul and the many people with homes there will lose them...………….Mercury pollution from coal plants mans we shouldn't eat fish more than 8oz/wk...…………..And because her kind and not restricted to her age group, we pay more for FF power, transport causing $600B/yr in FF caused costs, called the tragedy of the commons, look it up in YOUR higher income taxes, healthcare cost, etc...………….Now had we started 20 yrs go we'd now have energy costs 50-70% cheaper and without the $600B/yr costs that go away without FFs, we'd be far better off, No?...………. Just whom wants to pay more for polluting power, fuels? ……………..Next RE makes 3x the FF jobs and 90% locally /Florida jobs, not King Saud's.. ……….Nor can anyone jack the price up as anyone can buy a solar system with battery pack and clean fuel generator/CHP backup and heating on bio, waste, synfuels giving unlimited on demand power...………….Buy it once for $5k in a couple yrs and free energy for 25!...…..This can supply not just a well designed home, even a bad one at more money but as less than the higher utility bill, but an EV too ...…………The EV battery will be part of the system that the whole home system supplies the grid with peak power making money instead of a bill. ….. Now think of this next time you pay your power, gasoline bill, fill your tank...……….So lower cost clean power, fuels or much more costly FF energy with price spikes, pollution, thus higher taxes costs?...……….I'm a fiscal conservative so it's hard to see how this all present tech, most 40 yrs ago as I've been doing offgrid power systems using wind and tidal power and driven my lightweight EVs for 26 yrs at a fraction of a gas versions, a Harley Servicecar type this is all factual, real prices.

Climate change has been going on since the beginning of time. It is pure folly to believe that somehow Man has the ability to have such an impact or has the ability to control it. If you have any faith, you will know that the only One who can determine the health of the world is not any of us.

I'm a scientist who's been involved with the science of climate change and man's impact . . . . . . and this is just plain denial of the actual science . . . . . . . . get educated, go talk to a climate change scientist about the science and the facts . . . . . . . . . to blindly deny, like Donald Trump, is just . . . . . . PATHETIC . . . . . . . . . . .

If YOU'RE a "scientist" ("PATHETIC Frank"), I'm a "Nobel Prize" winner..! (Well, Barak Hussein Obama AKA "Barry Soweto" had no real identity nor talent, and HE was awarded the prize for ABSOLUTELY NOTHING !!!) YEAH,.."involved with the *science* of climate change",.. That's "a hot one" "Frankie Boy"!!! (TRY SUNTAN LOTION !)

I've proven many times on this site that I'm a scientist . . . . . . . . all you ever do is involve yourself in engaging in constant racism, bullying and demonstrable lies out of Santa Rosa . . . . . . . when your rambling text is not delusional . . . . . . . . . . . . PATHETIC

You've "PROVEN" you're a "scientist"?!?!?!?... "Many times on THIS SITE"?!?!? I THINK NOT,..NEVER,..NO...! [...and THERE'S YOUR (always "go to" "racism accusation response") ONCE AGAIN. . . "PATHETIC Frankie". . . ]...{look up the word "proven", "PATHETIC Frankie", the "scientist"!}

Since you're in such a good mood . . . . . . . . TRY THIS - what's the scientific two-part Latin name for a non-obligate marine submerged monocot halophyte that occurs in Florida . . . . . . . . . then we'll get into your lies and racism . . . . . . . . . . . . C Breeze . . . . . . glad I can get under your skin for all to see . . . . . . . . demonstrating once again your Trumpian rage and being absolutely. . . . . . . . . PATHETIC . . . . . .

"Coddled. Delicate. The “tea cup generation” that doesn’t know or appreciate where things come from, takes more than it gives back and must be handled with extra care." - seems pretty true at this point. Like the '60s hippies, yippies, and flower power children!

Yo Mama & Nana from the hippies & yippies!

Wise young lady! The future looks great.

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