We’ve been naming generations for a long time. Demographers use it to begin a conversation about the changes around us. While a birth range doesn’t guarantee an outlook, the demographics and cultural shifts that a group shares tell us a lot about how they might see the world. And the name is a shortcut to remind us that not everyone sees the world the way we do.
- Baby boomers
- Gen X
- Gen Y
- Gen Z
The last four are pretty unimaginative if you ask me, but I also know that a baby boomer is probably thinking of the world differently than a millennial is right now. These are inexact labels, but helpful nonetheless.
So what to call the next generation?
My co-authors Bruce Clark and Paige NeJame have coined the term “Generation C.” It’s so well-suited, I believe it’s going to stick.
C is for Covid, C is for Carbon, C is for Climate.
The combination of years of school spent at home, in a mask, combined with the significant revolution (economic, political and social) that our industrialism has led us to means that this generation will be different than the ones before. Every decision and investment and interaction is going to be filtered through the lens of carbon and remediation and resilience.
And yet, if we combine this with the c of connection, of a cohort of people who are finding solace and possibility in community, there’s a chance for all of us. It will take compassion as well. Generation C didn’t ask for any of this, but I’m hopeful that they’re up for leading the change.