To the Editor: Millennials and Nature

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With the understanding that I am only one out of 75.4 million American Millennials, I would kindly like to offer a differing opinion than that which Ms. Condon expressed in her recent piece, “Resurrecting Faith Requires Connecting with Nature.”

Ms. Condon refers to a Pew Research Center survey, pointing out that Millennials are the least religious of all American generations thus far. Religious in what sense? While it is true that many have left behind the patriarchal and often violent beliefs of Christianity (a faith based entirely on a gruesome human sacrifice), searching instead for their deep ancestral roots in the often more benign and nature-based faiths of Wicca, Witchcraft, and Astrology (“Merry Christmas! Why Millennials are Ditching Religion for Witchcraft and Astrology,” Kari Paul for Market Watch, Dec. 19, 2017). Surely these practices, which center around the changing seasons and skies, are just as likely to awaken an appreciation for nature as any other more ‘traditional’ belief?

According to the Pew Research Center, Ms. Condon is correct that Millennials are less likely to identify as environmentalists. However, this is not surprising given the Center’s findings that we are less inclined to identify ourselves as anything. According to the same study, a whopping 50 percent of us are political independents as well. Eighty-two percent of Millennials support increased federal funding for clean and renewable energy research, and 52 percent of us oppose offshore oil drilling. Compare this to 74 percent and 29 percent of Baby Boomers, respectively (“An Environmentalist Reality Check in the Age of the Millennial,” Julie Katsnelson for Generation Progress, Oct. 5, 2017). We’re also driving the camping industry. Thirty-eight percent of “active camping households,” and rising, are Millennials (“Outdoors Activities Popular with Millennials,” The Associated Press for TheCabin.net, March 20, 2017).

Ms. Condon then goes on to assert that scientists are responsible for this imaginary shift away from nature. Her reasoning? They talk about Lyme Disease and germs too much.

What I find most disturbing, however, is that the Crozet Gazette would publish an opinion piece as a journalistic article. In a day and age when we are constantly bombarded by “fake news,” print media has enjoyed a rise in respectability. This is something Ms. Condon and I seem to agree on, in fact. She mentions several times the dangers of the shifting, fluid world of the Internet; a space where partial facts are disseminated with ease and hardly questioned before they are spread to thousands, if not millions of citizens.

Therefore, I challenge the staff of the Gazette to hold their publication up to the same light of scrutiny when penning or publishing an article. Even if what you are writing is an opinion piece, is it well researched? Or, as I suspect happened here, is it another low-blow against an already maligned generation, using convenient stereotypes and dog-whistle style tumefaction of post-war fears about “those darn kids”?

Meagan Jennett
Crozet

3 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Meagan,
    The definition of a columnist is a person who has earned credibility in a particular field of writing and has thus been granted the job of writing a series that usually offers commentary and opinions. A journalist, on the other hand, is a reporter who provides facts sans opinion. You’ve made a mistake here and should not malign the staff of The Gazette.
    Sincerely,
    Marlene

  2. Marlene – Thank you for your thoughts and the correction re: specific roles of writers. However, I still feel that when something is published in a news outlet, even if it is understood to be an opinion piece, you should still argue your opinion with facts and research. Therefore, I stick to my challenge of asking the Gazette to be more discerning in their choice of article publication.

  3. Hi Meagan,
    I’m not sure what exactly you are referring to when you say I did not use facts and research, and I’m surprised that you seem so defensive about what I wrote. Your belief that the point of the article was to malign millennials is not correct. The article is about how being removed from or at war with or in fear of nature can affect belief in God. I simply started this discussion with your generation and then moved on. My column is NOT a hit piece on millennials, and I think you should reread it. Somehow, you have completely misunderstood what I wrote, based upon the things you brought up in your letter to the editor–none of which have anything at all to do with the point of my column. 
    Sincerely, Marlene

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