Bill Maher on “green faker” generation Z/Millenials –
Point taken, but conclusions wrong

I saw a video clip of Bill Maher’s show [1] ranting about “green fakers” in the younger generations (Z, Millenials) where he contrasted Greta Thunberg and Kylie Jenner and their followers (Instagram: Greta:Kylie=13M:279M followers). He illustrated with many examples how the younger generation was full of “fake” and just as bad as the older generation regarding consumerism. Therefore, he concluded they should “shut the fuck up how older generations are ruining the planet”.

Although my first reaction was that Bill Maher is right, after I had a chance to think about his rant, I think he is right in pointing out not-sustainable, consumerist, excessive behavior in the younger generations. However, his conclusion that the younger generation “to shut the fuck up” is  wrong.
The required system change needs EVERYONE TO SPEAK UP TO FIRST CHANGE SOCIAL NORMS AND THEN THE SYSTEM independent how flawed their lives are in a system which made us addicted to consumerism and fossil fuels.
Bill Maher argumentation is flawed in that sense that he construes an argumentum ad hominem by treating different (US american) groups in the younger generation as one “green faker” individual who is just as bad and hypocrite as the “older generation” seen as one individual. He assumes that those radical environmentalists who demand a greener future are the same people who are extreme consumerists. However, consumerism and environmentalism are two dimensions with complex relationship. Although a study [2]  showed that certain higher income groups show more environmental attitudes but also a higher carbon footprint, at the extreme ends of the spectrum  it is hard to imagine that radical environmentalists are also extreme consumers.
In summary, Bill Maher is right in pointing out contradictions in attitude and behavior of younger generations, especially the younger generation should, therefore, be grateful for his critique.  However, his conclusion “to shut up” is wrong, because “shuting up” will not make things better. What is more, everybody should speak up and we should hold each other  to higher standards while accepting our own flawed present lives and gratefully use the critique of others to change ourselves and the system towards sustainability.
Reference:
[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYSLyvbR_1w
[2] https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/publikationen/repraesentative-erhebung-von-pro-kopf-verbraeuchen
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