1. “GEN S”

We can sense that disconnection from nature is bad for our mental health. But there was no name for this until sustainability professor Glenn Albrecht coined the term ‘psychoterratic’ - which refers to the trauma caused by distance from nature. This was the beginning of a vocabulary to name the relationship between mental health and environment - ways to redefine our emotional responses to landscapes that have changed and are changing.

He’s coined lots more words to describe the full range of positive and negative emotions we have toward the environment since then, including solastalgia, the psychic pain of climate change and missing a home that’s transforming before your eyes. Now, Albrecht has identified a specific generation of people who, connected with nature, are looking to implement a new world order, Gen S:

“Generation Symbiocene (Gen S) are those in the current generations who will willingly use their biophilia and rejection of ecocide to implement a new world order based on the principles of symbiosis and ecological ‘living together’ or what I call the ‘sumbios’ (Greek for ‘living together,' a root word of symbiosis in science). The rise of young people in groups like Extinction Rebellion and the school strike movement lead by Greta Thunberg are signs that the Symbiocene has commenced. However, all the post-Boomer generations (X, Y, Z) are candidates for membership of Gen S. There are even some Boomers who might like to devote the rest of their lives to good Earth emotions and helping their own children and grandchildren avoid the apocalypse and create the Symbiocene."  Glenn Albrecht, Author of Earth Emotions: New Words for a New World

Read more about ‘Gen S’ and new words for a new world here, and remember, ‘generations’ aren’t simply defined by age categories. 

2. ACTIVIST BURNOUT

The World Health Organisation recently reclassified burn-out as an official medical condition. It’s an issue that needs to be taken seriously; “burnout happens when our brain, overwhelmed by the onrush of information and plans, reaches its full capacity, leading to “emotional, mental and physical exhaustion”.

We often talk in 52INSIGHTS about how socially conscious the younger generation is today, and how this is manifesting in various forms of activism. The ‘child activist’ is actually a thing. Now, we are seeing more young people suffer from ‘activist burnout.’  Why?

“We base our hopes on either outcome or intention and that committing to a cause fuelled only by an outcome-based hope can lead to despair and burnout. Since environmental actions may not always yield a tangible outcome, the hopes of result-orientated activists can easily fade away, leading to emotional exhaustion.” Green News

As more and more brands are getting onboard to support activism, and especially climate activism, this is important to be conscious of. 

3. THE REVOLUTION WILL BE UPLOADED TO TIKTOK 

The revolution will not be televised. But, word on the grapevine is, it will be uploaded, by teens, to social media platform TikTok. TikTok has been gaining in popularity over the last number of years, and has now firmly cemented itself among the mainstream social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. The NFL has just joined the platform in an attempt to court younger viewers. But it’s not all just fun and games. Conservation International is promoting saving the ocean on the platform, and users have sparked many cause-related challenges. So, “the home of Egirls and furries is now a hotbed of political action…”

 Why? “...unlike its competitors, the singalong based social network still feels fairly democratic; we don’t know much about its algorithms, it has not been linked to a huge data leak or censorship scandal, and it’s been adopted by a much younger audience than Facebook or Twitter. It’s the new kid on the social block and doesn’t have the same reputational crises as others, perhaps making it feel more progressive than it actually is. But either way, stay tuned for the resistance.” Caroline Christie

Read more about this here, and if you’re not already on TikTok, get on it. 

4. A REFRAMING OF THE PURPOSE OF BUSINESS & ‘THE CORPORATION’

I think that one of the most defining moments of business history has just happened.” Jane McDaid, Founder, Thinkhouse

Values and purpose driven business has been a topic of great conversation in the past number of years. Many companies are making strides to use business as an act for good, but not all consider it a priority. Now, we’re seeing steps being taken to show how serious this is, and how it will define the future of business, as we transition from a ‘narrow quarterly earnings mindset’ to what’s dubbed here as a ‘stakeholder mindset.’ In a recent landmark decision the Business Roundtable changed its definition of the ‘purpose of a corporation’ from 'making money for shareholders' to include broader goals such as 'caring for staff and the environment’. A ‘long-term’ focus has also been added as a responsibility for business. This also comes as a group of US Companies tell Apple and Amazon to put planet before profits. 

5. A BUNCH OF OTHER THINGS THAT WE’RE LOVING THIS WEEK 

  • This article that uncovers the behind the scenes of young, post-GCSE students at Reading Festival: “it smelt like hor­mones, it looked like a dystopi­an play­ground and it felt like freedom.” Click on the ‘Campers’ at the end of the article to read four 16 year old’s festival diaries. 
  • This proposal at during Singalong Social at the Heineken Live Your Music stage at Electric Picnic last weekend.