The term Millennial is beginning to get a bad rep. But, those in the category, born between 1983 and 2000 are the nation’s largest generation and an important voice and impact in society. That’s why when Millennials make good green choices, it can make a big difference in the state of the environment.
A government study released this week found that Millennials are much less car-focused than older Americans. Between 2001 and 2009 the average number of miles driven by Millennials dropped by 23 percent. In recent years, census data shows that the share of 16 to 24 year-olds traveling to work decreased by car, and increased on foot or by bicycle.
These choices are proving to be important, because of the state of our current environment. Because of the large amount of people in this specific generation, choices to drive more could have been detrimental. They would increase gas prices even more, emit more carbon monoxide, and increase traffic. With less cars on the road, there are fewer deaths and injuries, reduced expenditures for highway construction and repair, and overall less pollution.
The study also found that Millennials are more attracted to communities with less need for driving, more ability to walk or bike to their destinations. It is also within their generation that bikesharing and ridesourcing applications have become more popular.
The conclusion is that Americans should actively encourage this desire to drive less. This generation's choices could lead the way for younger generations, as well. By building new bicycle and pedestrian infrastructures and getting the state and federal governments involved, Millennials’ transportation choices could inspire a new, less car-intensive lifestyle in the future.