Tag Archives: generations

They didn’t start the fire

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio
Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

You probably recognize the opening lines from Billy Joel’s 1989 song “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” Images of news, sports, and pop culture from Joel’s lifetime flash by in a steady montage. Joel was saying that his generation — my generation — didn’t mess things up because, well, things were already a mess when we got here.

We didn’t start the fire. It was always burning.

climate_protest_london

Climate protest: London (New York Times)

But in the 30 years since then, our generation has done nothing to put the fire out. If anything, we’ve thrown on more logs than any generation before us.

I thought about that on Friday when young people around the world filled the streets, demanding action on climate change. Your inaction is destroying the planet, they said, and today’s young people will bear the cost. Continue reading

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