It is no wonder the young despise my lazy, selfish generation! writes JENNI MURRAY
- In 2015, over-60s accounted for 33 percent of greenhouse gas emissions
- The Norwegian study found that the under-30s cut their emissions by 3.7 tonnes
- Jenni Murray says it’s time to get radical and follow the lead of the youth
Really, it’s not at all surprising younger generations are deeply resentful of those of us known as Baby Boomers. Born between 1946 and 1965, we are the ones who seemingly had everything given to us. Now there’s news to make matters worse: a recent study says we are the world’s worst polluters.
My generation, I fear, has been thoroughly spoilt. We had education which was free. We’ve never had to worry about thousands of pounds of university loans hanging over our heads, being deducted, bit by painful bit, from our salaries over a lifetime.
When we were keen to escape the strictures of living with our parents in our 20s and setting up an independent life — no bother.
Jenni Murray says that she understands why the young are frustrated with her generation who can afford so much more than them and care less about the environment. In 2015, over-60s accounted for 33 percent of greenhouse gas emissions
My first house, a four-bedroom Georgian terrace in Clifton, Bristol, cost £7,000. It was a bit dilapidated, but we were young and energetic enough to carry out repairs, watch it rise in price and move on up the housing ladder.
There’s no such hope for today’s young. It’s not unusual to be living with Mum and Dad into your late 30s. House prices have rocketed; salaries have not. The most hard-working young professionals will struggle to put together an adequate deposit to buy something fit for a family.
In contrast, my generation were raised by parents who had always been thrifty. They endured the privations of war and rationing, and were determined that life for their children would be different.
We would be the ‘never had it so good’ kids. Plenty of food? Yes. Sweets if we wanted them? Of course. Nice clothes? Essential. Foreign holidays? Why not? Travel would broaden the mind.
We grew up in peace and pleasure seeking, never truly wanting for anything. Now it’s all coming home to roost.
A Norwegian study, published in the Nature Climate Change Journal, has found that Baby Boomers have the biggest carbon footprint. In 2015, the over-60s accounted for 33 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
We’re supposed to be caring for the planet for our grandchildren, but we’re not and it’s utterly shameful. While our children struggle to afford to live in a onebedroom flat, we refuse to down-size from family homes, rattling around in houses that are far too big for us.
We’re not prepared to deal with the cold. We remember that, when we were little, before central heating, there might be ice inside the bedroom windows. We won’t have that as we get older. No. Heating all day every day because we can afford it. (Well, for now we can.)
Jenni (pictured) says to get radical again and follow the lead of the youth as they will be around much longer
Most of us also share that retirement vision, where we can visit all those places we dreamt about. Japan and Australia’s Coober Pedy, the opal capital of the world, are top of my bucket list. That’s a lot of long-haul flying.
I can comfort myself that I drive a small car, although many of my friends and acquaintances roar around in huge, gas-guzzling Chelsea Tractors. We are doing nothing to save the planet.
Dr Heran Zheng, one of the authors of the study, says the over60s are responsible for an increasing share of climate emissions in all 32 countries analysed. While the youngest age group — the under-30s — cut their emissions by 3.7 tonnes; emissions by the over-60s fell by only 1.5 tonnes. We oldies need to pull our weight.
My car isn’t electric; I’m too afraid of so-called ‘range anxiety’ — running out of juice — and there’s nowhere near my London home to install a recharging plug. But I pledge to use my petrol Mini as little as possible.
I have downsized to a smaller house and am sitting here with the boiler off wearing three sweaters. The bins go out today. Recyclables separated, but I use far too much plastic, largely from ready meals. More fresh food must be home-cooked. Tech is a particular weakness for our generation, the study points out. I have the lights on, an iPad, phone and computer all plugged in. That must be reduced and I must not buy new gadgets.
I’ve examined the bucket list and crossed off unnecessary travel. I shan’t ever dig my own opal in Australia or see cherry blossom in Japan. An afternoon in the garden with my roses will have to suffice.
There hasn’t been this much animosity between the generations since the Youthquake of the 1960s when we were the ones railing against our stuck-in-themud elders.
Sixty years on, we’ve become lazy and self-satisfied. It’s time to get radical again and follow the lead of the youth. After all, they’ll be around in this world so much longer than we will.
There’s no shame in needing help at 95, Ma’am
Jenni Murray says that the Queen is still regal, regardless of her considerable age and growing disability. She has admired the royal for years for her tenacity
I never thought for one second that the Queen would fail to attend the memorial service for her beloved husband, no matter how worried she might be about her mobility. As it was, she managed perfectly well, entering the Abbey by the shortest route, with a stick and the support of her favourite son, Prince Andrew.
She is regal, regardless of her considerable age and growing disability. I have admired her tenacity for years, watching her stand for hours as she hands out honours.
But needing help in no way diminishes her. She should not be afraid to be seen with her stick, to accept the assistance of a wheelchair or use her new souped-up golf buggy.
I know how hard it is to admit that you’re not as capable of activity as you once were. The Queen has 23 years on me, but I, at only 72, have had to acknowledge that my mobility is severely compromised by a bad back and hips.
I eventually opted for a stick and, last weekend, booked a wheelchair to carry me across London’s St Pancras Station. No one, I’m sure, thought any the less of me and it’s far better to be out and about than moping at home wondering what people think. That applies to Queen or Commoner alike.
Jenni is not keen on the new catwalk trend for cropped tops saying that it’s her ‘out of fashion once again’
On the Oscars’ red carpet as on the Paris catwalks, the trend for cropped tops necessitates a rock-hard midriff like Spider-Man star Zendaya, left. So that’s me out of fashion once again.
The Original Full Monty cast is regrouping for new TV series 25 years on since the original film
- The original Full Monty cast is to reconvene 25 years on for a TV series. It was one of my favourite films, but they’re not as young, nor as cute as they were. Please don’t make them strip.
No surprise there’s ministerial panic over the ‘feeble refugee scheme’. Two weeks on and I haven’t heard anything about my offer of a room for a mother and her child. And Ukrainians who’ve applied for visas are making little progress. Hope this isn’t due to a Home Office still ‘working from home’.
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