Millennials rebuilding the mess babyboomers created

I went to take a look at the Dutch Technology Week yesterday, hosted at the technical university in the Dutch city of Eindhoven. I was expecting a huge variety of inventions spread across the vast lawns and squares of the university campus. Instead, everyone was just going about their business and was surprised that we didn’t just come to the press event.

We had to go on quite the search to find the hidden gems, but thanks to helpful receptionists, teachers and students, we found a group of young people working on the car of the future; her name is Lina. The body of this car is made out of a new and tough material, manufactured out of flax and sugar beets. It’s a rock-solid and 100% plant-based material. An inexhaustible resource, where as now we are drawing resources from the increasingly exhausted earth.

The energy and emission-free house that other students on the campus built was a bit easier to find. It is a model to renovate ‘old’ buildings and transform them into habitations suitable for this day and age. It can be habited in any climate, and is particularly suited for people trying to live with less impact on the earth.

My generation (yes, unfortunately I am a baby boomer) tends to be rather pessimistic about the youth of today. They accuse them of being too superficial and too little engaged. When it comes to complaining, many of us babyboomers haven’t learned much from the griping our parents did about those hippy scumbags There is little respect for young people who get their fragmented daily dose of news from their mobile phone. That form their opinion by reading social media to read or by following bloggers and vloggers rather than listen to the editors-in-chief or commentators we respect so much.

But such a trip across the campus of a major university made my day even sunnier than it already was. The energy you see in those twenty-somethings, who consider issues such as solar energy, electric cars, renewable raw materials and a circular economy as an everyday issue. For those who are working on a better, cleaner and happier society, it is the most normal thing in the world. They talk about business and science initiatives that do know how to set the course toward a brighter future with fire in their eyes. They believe that the government will catch up eventually in the best-case scenario.

Okay, so they are not protesting in the streets anymore, don’t chain themselves to fences or organise sit-ins. They are just busy finding alternatives for the society we managed to screw up so much.


This post is also available in: Dutch

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