Millennials do not want to be called environmentalists

image via Little Visuals

According to a Pew Research Center report published earlier this month, America’s environmental movement has a problem. Millennials aren’t crazy about being labeled as “environmentalists.”

Strike that image of young, hearty, idealistic hordes mobilized to get in tune with nature and preserve our natural resources for the present and generations to come. Not interested. Or, at least they’re not as interested as their forerunners.

Older Americans are more likely to identify themselves as “environmentalists” than are younger ones. Have we lost the war of the hearts and minds when it comes to taking care of our environment?

From the Washington Post:

“Forty-four percent of the Silent Generation — those born between 1928 and 1945 — say the word “environmentalist” describes them very well, compared to 42 percent of Boomers and Gen-Xers, and only 32 percent of Millennials. This is partly because younger adults simply don’t like labels — back in the late ’90s the Gen-Xers were the cohort least likely to identify as environmentalists. But four-in-ten of them embraced this description then, compared to the third of Millennials who do so now.”

This doesn’t mean that Millennials do not care about the environment at all, nor do they not care about other socially important topics. In fact, according to this study, Millennials support equal rights for gays and lesbians at a rate of 51 percent. The Gen Yers’ support for gay rights outpaces all of the preceding generations: 37 percent of Gen Xers, 33 percent of Boomers, and 32 percent of the Silent Generation support gay rights.

While on the whole, Millennials support environmental laws, they more readily identify and support social issues other than environmentalism. Overall, across all generations, 39 percent of Americans say “environmentalist” describes them well.

What do you think WiseTribe? Are their priorities out of order? Are they more or less likely to embrace environmental concerns as they age?


Julian Rogers is a writer, editor, community manager and marketing communications consultant for high-achieving businesses. He is the senior communications consultant for Juju Eye Communications. Find out what he’s thinking about on his blog:, or connect with him on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Read our blog for more on how WiseTribers feel about the important social causes of our time. Join us to contribute your ideas!

You should jump in here. Like it? Not so much? Have something to say about it? Let us know by adding a comment. This is your community.