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EWG intern makes USA Today front page

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Alex Wells explains the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce while staffing the EWG booth at this year’s Green Fest.

Today’s USA Today profiles (on the front page no less) EWG intern Alex Wells. According to USAT Alex may be pretty typical of Generation Y. Research suggests she and other millennials — those in their mid-20s and younger — are civic-minded and socially conscious. A recent survey of 13-25-year-olds finds that:

• 61% feel personally responsible for making a difference in the world.
• 81% have volunteered in the past year.
• 69% consider a company's social and environmental commitment when deciding where to shop.
• 83% will trust a company more if it is socially/environmentally responsible.

The article posits that tragedies like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina have had a measurable influence on Gen Y’s burgeoning activism. An activism which is, in most cases, not learned in the home, where many young activists’ parents are unfamiliar with current events, don’t vote, and are “civically illiterate.”

Harvard public policy professor Robert Putnam says that volunteerism and the new crop of activism are an upper middle class phenomenon further dividing those with and without college degrees. The “have-nots,” he says, are less engaged than ever before.

Enter GenerationEngage, a 2-year-old non-partisan, youth civic engagement initiative focused particularly on bringing non-college students in to the political and activist fold. The group organizes events where young people can meet face-to-face and online with leaders and politicians, such as Al Gore and Newt Gingrich.

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