Here is a great story on the behavior of NEtGen that should be challenging the traditional models of engagement of the movement. We need more of our leaders to start asking can we win without their help? Can we think of ways that are peer based, non-membership focused ways to engage a new generation of support? What are you doing that is not part of the strategy that a generation thinks "IS DEAD"? This should be another powerful wake up call to start thinking about new approaches to engagement (as if the slipping agenda was not enough).
"This is a generation of folks who are reluctant to get involved in anything political," Feldmark says. Although they are likely to be interested in service projects such as participating in a stream cleanup and exhibited a strong environmental ethos, they shun labels and "are not planning to be active at all," says Feldmark. And while they show some respect for activists, they think traditional activist tactics are dated. Traditional electoral politics are particularly suspect. "By and large it is a disenfranchisement issue," says Feldmark. "They feel like it doesn't matter, that nobody cares about what they are interested in and that their vote doesn't count."
There is a severe distrust of all messengers, even scientists. The only people that focus group participants said they regularly listen to are their own peers. They also said they are more likely to become engaged when they can see how an issue affects their own lives. Feldmark says, "There was an interest in energy policy once we made the link to asthma. Everyone either had asthma or had someone close to them who did."
This is the network-centric advocacy generation. Peer-to-Peer self-organizing, distrustful. They are my kind of people.