Photo by Esther Ann on Unsplash
I was born in 1961 as one of the last Baby Boomers, the demographic cohort that came about from a spurt of fertility following WW2.
The world of the 1960s was very different to today.
There were far fewer people for starters, technology had not reached everyone, there was no internet, no streaming, and a long-distance phone call cost over $1 a minute. There was also no Covid.
My grandma bathed her children in a tin tub in front of a coal fire. I always had access to instant hot water.
My father bought his first car, a third hand Austin A40 the size of a peanut when he was in his 40’s. I am lucky enough to buy a new car with a turbocharged engine and big enough for five adults.
Image source: Morse Classics
Personal computers, mobile phones, the internet, global travel, gastronomic delights, and Netflix have arrived in the lifetime of the Baby Boomers. So many things have changed over the last 60 years that my infant self would never have imagined my future.
I have experienced so much that I need to pinch myself to be sure it all happened.
The Alpha generation
What of the babies born today, the Alpha generation? What will they experience in their lifetimes?
If the Boomers went from landlines to Facetime, maybe the Alphas can expect holograms, space travel for the masses, and bionic body parts. They could also have to pinch their virtual selves.
Only they will have more to do than the Boomers.
We know that their generation must solve many problems made from the successes of the previous generations. They will be faced with issues of food security, water security, wealth discrepancies, refugees, and any number of technology transitions, especially with energy.
Oh yes, and Covid or its derivatives.
They will also be impacted by changes to the climate.
Here are some of the numbers based on a warming scenario should we meet the Paris agreement targets and see a global average of 2.7℃ of extra heat
This is a lot of extra disasters.
The WHO describes heatwaves as the most dangerous of natural hazards. From 1998-2017, more than 166 000 people died due to heatwaves, including more than 70 000 who died during the 2003 heatwave in Europe.
The Alpha generation can expect over 600,000 heatwave related deaths every decade.
A golden age
The Boomers parents and grandparents did it tough too — nobody goes through a global war unscathed.
So I am lucky to be born a Boomer and forever grateful.
However, my generation has done a lousy job of preparing for the future. We have not curtailed population or consumption but promoted both. Nature has buckled under our excesses, and the natural resources we leave for the Alphas are either depleted or dangerous to use.
The Baby Boomers had it good because we were born at just the right time, the golden age of technology and wealth. We tapped the sun’s ancient energy for a cheap fix and a costly legacy.
It will take a lot to make a platinum age from what we will leave behind.
Feel free to browse the Alloporus back catalogue for more ideas and random thoughts.