15 Global Issues Generation Z Is Prepared to Conquer
Generation Z is the latest group of humans to make an impact in the workforce and life in general as they proceed from high school to college. The dates we’ve listed for them above are estimates, and some can fall into that latter-Generation Y range.
As in the past, many older generations lament the failings of the up-and-comers, and Gen Z is no exception. However, this generation could prove their worth in a big way as Millennials and Generation Y have through technology, tolerance, and education.
In the following article, we will be going into why we think the “kids are all right.” Here are 15 global issues we expect them to solve or greatly improve in their lifetime. See if you agree!
1. The Pandemic
In March 2020, the US and world as a whole was taken by storm. The novel coronavirus outbreak closed businesses, drove up unemployment, and cost hundreds of thousands of lives. It also sidelined traditional education, forcing teachers and students to adjust to a “new norm” of canceled classes and virtual learning.
Students in Generation Z are in a unique position to tackle the pandemic (and future pandemics) on multiple fronts. Firstly, they are accustomed to what many view as “disruption” and will be able to operate normally within it. Secondly, they will spend their formative and early work years with better access to technology and education to help them join the fight against this and future diseases.
2. Holiday Shopping
Ten years ago, Generation Z was still bearing witness to their adult counterparts acting like morons fighting each other over flat-screen TVs and giving up their togetherness time at Thanksgiving time to do it. Generation Y and Z’s contributions to fixing this Black Friday problem have already solved it. They’ve done it by supporting fewer name brands and embracing the power of online shopping.
This has made it easier to get out the day after Thanksgiving, slowed the tensions among shoppers, and democratized sales for smaller shops and boutiques.
College students, plagued by years of diminishing returns on their educational investments, are starting to really make an impact politically. Their votes in November 2020 sent a strong message to the incoming presidential administration that inflated education costs, exploding student loan debt, and an overall lack of accountability to “get what you pay for” in higher learning will no longer be tolerated.
They’ve even put overpriced university bookstores on blast by embracing textbook rental services and peer-to-peer lending of educational materials. Expect this to only improve with time.
4. Online Bullying
Greater awareness on personal identity has brought more attention to the issue of online bullying. While the problem did start with Millennials and Generation Y, Generation Z and their counterparts have also done much to spread the word about the dangers of online bullying through positive peer pressure and a boost in activism.
While previous generations approached the problem of bullying in general with a sort of “rite of passage” attitude, younger generations are starting to call out this behavior when they see it, drawing a clear line in the sand that enough is enough.
5. Community Organizing
Generation Z, Y, and Millennials have harnessed the congregational and communications power of the Internet to come together around causes. They’ve promoted a variety of causes or tackled issues that are specific to the communities they are in.
This interest in bettering their environments has led to a number of improvements and served as an introduction to further activism, networking opportunities, and more. Considering that two presidential administrations ago, a community organizer became one of the most consequential presidents since the Great Depression, that’s a pretty good way to get started making a difference!
Younger generations have overwhelmingly supported calls for unity around Black Lives Matter, LGBTQIA, and feminism. They want more of an equal playing field for everyone, and they’re not going to support overt racism or implicit biases when they come across them.
This has led to the concept of “cancel culture,” which has drawn criticism from some, but the overall push to know better and do better is an overall great thing for society and will bring the push for equality closer to fruition.
7. Low-Info Voting
Generation Z as well as Y and Millennials have done much to curb the tide of low information voting. They’ve done this through interests in data journalism, a knowledge of “fake news” and the need to check multiple sources, use of social media and a willingness to hold these platforms accountable when they allow the spread of misinformation.
They’ve also done a much better job of previous generations when it comes to promoting the power of the vote to their peers. Participation is up among younger generations, and that has led to a tidal wave of support for game-changer politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Look for this generation to make an even bigger impact politically before they’re even old enough to run for office.
8. Holding Corporations Responsible
Corporations have bucked their responsibilities in a number of ways over the last 30 years, and they have used their funds to buy influence over politicians. Generation Z and their counterparts have brought awareness to this issue. They’ve become more socially conscious consumers and shown corporations they will not turn a blind eye to environmentally irresponsible behaviors.
While money is still power and corporations have more of it, the power of money isn’t quite as strong when you have the ability to share and spread information freely. Young people are doing this through their various social media platforms, and it will make a huge difference in the years ahead. Generation Z’s contributions will be a sort of force-multiplier in this regard as they continue the trends of Y and Millennials.
Young people understand the power of technology on multiple levels. One particular aspect is entrepreneurship. More than previous generations, Z knows that you don’t need a tremendously bloated overhead to start selling products and services. They use readily available information, innovation, and groupthink to get products to market faster.
As time goes on, you will see more startups carve a niche where they can compete with or even beat the big boys and create independent lifestyles of their own. Education is always more powerful when you grow up in it, and the education available to Z will enable them to have a more thorough understanding of leadership and entrepreneurial principles, all before they ever get out of school.
10. Gun Violence
Most Americans support sensible gun laws that enable the ownership of firearms to a certain point. As generations get younger, these calls for reform to the 2nd Amendment are even stronger. As Generation Z gets closer to taking power, they will continue to revisit this issue until there is better control on the epidemic of gun violence in America.
It won’t happen overnight. It likely won’t happen without more tragedy. However, as you see younger politicians take power and higher voter participation among Gen Z and others, the pendulum will shift toward more responsible laws and expectations.
11. Media Misinformation
Watch many cable news channels today, and you will see a tale of two Americas. The reality presented by MSNBC in no way reflects the reality presented by Fox News. Throw in conspiracy sites like InfoWars and OANN, and you’ve got a real crisis of confidence in the concept of truth.
Young people have led the way, however, in stepping up and calling out misinformation. Pressures from them have influenced platforms like Twitter and Facebook to take proactive measures on political posts. Embarrassing calls for retraction have forced news media outlets to soul search to determine what type of publication they wish to be.
Bottom line: Generation Z is adept at research, thoughtful about what they’re reading, and they will call you out if you’re not checking the accuracy of your information.
Fascism in America became of greater concern in 2016 when racist groups felt emboldened by the election. This flare-up got Generation Z really asking questions about what type of country they wanted to grow up in. In 2020, their support helped send a message to these groups by rejecting an agenda that had either been quiet about them or outright encouraged them.
While this did not solve the issues of racism that America still faces, it certainly showed that the country’s future lies in broader acceptance as opposed to more restrictive access. One must always be on call against the growth of fascism, but Gen Z seems up for the challenge.
Generation Z is more likely to believe that access to quality healthcare is a basic human right. They’ve rejected the idea that your means should determine the quality of care that you receive. They will continue to support reforms that move in that direction and call out any actions of the healthcare industry that separate the haves and the have-nots.
The solutions will be messy, but, as MLK Jr. stated, the arc moves toward justice. That will be true in healthcare provisions as much as it is in anything else, and Generation Z will have a lot to do with it as they embrace inclusion and equity.
Unemployment and the problems that come with it are of the utmost importance to Generation Z. They value equal opportunities and taking care of their fellow citizen. As a result, you will see an emphasis placed on job creation. Where jobs are scarce, ideas like universal basic income (UBI) will pick up steam.
Generation Z (and Y and Millennials) have been flirting with these ideas for a while now. As they get a firmer grasp on economics and technology and innovation, they will work to address the oncoming tsunami of joblessness concerns that come from AI and automation.
Generation Z is largely concerned about their own futures and the state of the world right now. But as they get older and begin starting on families of their own, you will see them support more measures for family planning, access to free childcare, and other issues that can make or break the stability of families.
Generation Z Has Many Tools to Make This a Better World
Generation Z, like other generations before them, will not solve every problem they face. Along the way, they could also encounter new ones we haven’t even conceived of yet. But with their education level, understanding of technology, and accepting hearts, look for them to address the pressing global issues mentioned above to the best of their abilities. If you’re a part of Generation Z, we salute you and wish you the best of luck as you begin to comprise these solutions.
[Featured Image by Wikimedia Commons]