GEN Z – The Unfiltered and Uncurated

If sustainability and preservation were born from Generation X, unbridled restoration and uncurated action are the growing rights of passage on Generation Z’s shoulders. They are the generation of authentic and uncurated. They cheered as the REI Co-op turned its back on Black Friday and chose the anti-consumer pathway to overconsumption. Their call is the world’s biggest problem and many of them are not looking towards the halls of education to find their solutions.

While Generation X and Millennials are still out there talking about reduced footprints, permaculture, and becoming locavore hunters and gatherers. Generation Z is leapfrogging ahead to the action. With young rising stars like Boyan Slat, who at 18 designed and has deployed the world’s largest ocean clean up and along the way founded a $31.5 million dollar nonprofit organization called Ocean Cleanup. Or the pigtailed thirteen-year-old Greta Thurnberg who recently took on the #COP24 Climate Conference in Poland asking the United Nations assembly “why they did not do anything while there is still time to act” Gen Z’s peers are challenging traditions.

Growing up in the world of influencers, Generation Z has a direct social media line to how entrepreneurs and activists live their lives, and they want an immediate piece of it. With their tech-heavy skills and their burning platform to save the planet, they are petitioning their parents for a gap year or to use their college savings for business start-ups, and recently we’ve seen some of them winning on the support front.

Generation Z is different, they are the climate now homework later generation. Sure, their parent’s stomachs are churning with concerns that college might take a back seat. But the ‘do it now’ generation is taking those college funds and designing solutions to problems that are global. If chief executive Marc Benioff, philanthropist Peter Thiel, Julius Baer Foundation, and Royal DSM all see the light, we as an outdoor industry should put our concerns in our pockets and embrace this new and becoming segment with welcoming support.