People on Reddit were asked: “What is an alarming fact that the next generation is going to have to deal with?” These are some of the best answers.
I believe the US will eventually become an emigrant rather than an immigrant nation.
As much as people like to whine about immigrants coming and taking jobs and stressing infrastructure, people leaving and having an ensuing brain drain is infinitely worse. I believe that within 20-40 years that will happen to the USA.
Americans will leave for Canada, Europe, maybe even parts of Asia to get jobs and to stay ahead of rampant price increases that squeeze out the middle class. The scales will tip and more people will eventually leave than enter.
Probably that we need to work together on issues rather than go against each other. If we have two political parties that do nothing but undo each other’s policies, we won’t get anything done.
That ALL their parents adolescence and young adulthood is shared, stored and accessible: schooling, parties, fun time, private time, good, bad, indifferent. Whole years, decades, a lifetime stored on the web for their children (and their friends / enemies) to research…
In the US, that baby boomers cannot afford to retire (don’t worry fellow Gen-X/Millennials, it’s not just your parents). The most optimistic estimates for the average savings of households headed by a person near retirement age (55-64) is ~$100k.
But 40% have nothing saved, so it’s skewed.
Gen-X, having a hard time getting promoted because the senior guys won’t get our of the way? Yeah, that’s not getting better, they can’t afford to leave.
Millennials, don’t sweat it that you still live with your parents. You will soon be returning the favor.
Younger generation (whatever you’re called), get to work ASAP! We can’t afford to send you to college, we’re still paying for our student loans and need help funding grandma and grandpa’s Social Security!
We’re running out of honey bees!
Climate change reaching the point of irreparably damaging levels. Now is the time that people need to care about the environment, and many people hardly even know the extent of damage that is already being done.
That spending on infrastructure is essential. If we (in the US) continue to neglect our roads, bridges, railways, etc, then the next generations will legitimately have to worry about bridges collapsing underneath them.
Ok that might be hyperbole, but the US spends less than most other first world countries on maintaining our infrastructure, and we have a hell of a lot of roads to maintain.
That hiring managers can see practically everything they’ve done online for the past decade.
It’s going to make it awfully difficult for some people to get jobs.
If we’re complaining about how hard it is to find work now, imagine how hard it’s gonna be in the next 20, 30 years with machines replacing people. Google has a car which can drive itself, damn it.
The quality of durable goods, for the most part, deteriorates with each new generation. I sell appliances for a living (washers, dryers, refrigerators, etc.) and the quality we grew up with is no longer part of the equation for the manufacturers of today. Today it’s all about how many features it has and not about building a quality unit. Average life of appliances on the market today is only about 7-10 years.
From what I hear, cars are getting just as bad.
In the US our schools are [screwed]. Between over-testing, cutting budgets and underpaying our teachers, our kids just aren’t being given the tools to become highly productive members of society. We’re just creating cubicle dwellers. We let the people who excel get bored, and people who need help are either abandoned or drag down the whole class.
To be fair, my generation is still trying to fix the massive damage caused by baby boomers, while many of them are still here voting to continue the damage, destruction and plunder.
I figure my kids will have to deal with the fact that we were unable to fix it because the boomers still held too much power. With any luck a new generation, combined with an older generation who didn’t grow up in a post war world with all the jobs and opportunities an entire generation could ever need, will actually get to make some progress.
Turns out that enjoying a whole load of social security, excellent public services and a balanced economy to get where you are, then tearing it apart and selling it all for personal gain once you’re finished with it, while telling younger folks who have to try to make it on their own, they just have to “work harder” is a bad long term call.
That machines are going to displace huge parts of the workforce and we haven’t set up an adequate economic model to deal with this.
Cities that are built for cars instead of humans. Cars are going to be less and less viable as global warming gets worse, and there isn’t enough rare earths on the planet to replace them all with e-cars. Suburban sprawl is going to become a wasteland.
They’re all going to go to college and spend tens of thousands of dollars on degrees that will be completely worthless after the education bubble collapses.
One that I like to mention that few have heard about is how all the helium on Earth is going to run out soon, meaning no more helium, and this will have huge detrimental effects for many scientific and technological fields.
Background: despite being the second most abundant element in the universe, helium is really rare on Earth- it cannot be made artificially, and the gas is so light that it escapes into space fairly quickly once in the atmosphere. So you can’t really make more of it, and what little we have took 4.5 billion years to create, and half of which is a deposit in the USA. But Congress has mandated all the amount stored get sold by this year regardless of market demand. The current market price of helium is so cheap that you don’t bother to recycle it, and of course do things like helium balloons and the like which are wasting it too.
Why is this an issue? Well for ultra cold temperature science and tech, most rely on liquid helium to cool the instruments which is about 4 degrees above absolute zero. You do this because at room temperature or even liquid nitrogen temperatures (77 Kelvin) the thermal noise is way higher, to a degree that can really matter if you are trying to capture a few photons from a faraway galaxy or superconductivity magnets in MRI machines.
So starting in the next few years the price will suddenly be way higher, so hopefully people will start to recycle helium instead of just letting it escape… but most likely it’s going to all be gone in the next 25 years. And there is no way to get helium back once it’s gone. That will really, really suck.
The aging population.
Essentially this the forthcoming ‘perfect storm’, of an increasingly healthy, long-living population. As people live longer, the proportion of the world’s population not working will increase significantly and disproportionately, and a great number of those older people will be disabled or infirm, requiring significant care.
Rain’s a comin’
Not exactly “alarming” but, as an avid fisherman that enjoys our waters, I have to say, future generations may not be able to enjoy the fish we catch and the fish we eat today.
If you’ve been fishing or talked about fishing with an older man, they often times say “When I was your age, the fish came out non stop, they were enormous too, and at the store you could’ve bought it for 10 cents a pound!”
Before I started fishing often, I didn’t really get what they meant. I thought it was old timers just thinking everything was better back in day, but that’s not the case. Our fisheries are being over fished to brink of no return by commercial fishermen. Then you have recreational fishermen who ignore all regulations and keep anything that comes out of the water. The rules are there to allow fish to spawn a couple times before being caught. At this rate, when I’m an old timer I’ll be telling young people that fish actually used to come out of our oceans and rivers.
Along with over fishing / illegal harvesting, our waters are becoming more polluted (damage has been done by turn of the century factory’s dumping toxins in out waters, the time to clean up will far exceed the time it took to destroy the water). As well as run off from farms and pesticides. And with the explosion of popularity in fish oil, our most important bait fish, the menhaden (bunker, pogie) is under serious threat of extinction by companies like omegabunker (ironically). Taking out the middle of the food chain will collapse the rest.
It may not be as urgent as honeybees, freshwater, social issues, global warming, or helium. But the health of our fisheries is important as well. I hope that better regulations, better aquaculture, better catch and release, and better clean up happens because at this rate, the only fish left at markets will be tilapia at $99.99/lb.
My kids might not believe me that coral reefs actually existed. Finding Nemo will look like a fantasy in 15 years.
Because this is getting attention, let me add a few things. Yes, artificial aids are helping expand existing reefs or grow new ones, but even in ideal conditions, reefs take very long to grow. The Great Barrier Reef is 18 million years old and the current reef is over 8,000 years old.
Democracy requires belief for it to be successful, and our generation’s cynicism about the process means that our children will be truly lost. How can democracy ever exist in the long term without a strength of conviction behind it?
That dwindling petroleum supplies will likely lead to a shortage of plastic.
We aren’t recycling nearly enough of it, and current modern technology is completely reliant on plastic. Your average person doesn’t get more than 10 feet from plastic products ever. Hell, hospitals would just shut down.
68% of the U.S. Population is [an unhealthy weight], 30+% are [an even unhealthier weight]. Its the second leading cause of death in the U.S. today (3.4M deaths in 2010).
HAES will kill us all.
The fact that every child born (at least in the West, but certainly many more places than that), by the time they are a tween, will have seen quite a bit of porn -some of it quite violent- before ever embarking on a sexual relationship.
My generation saw porn too- but the type and sheer quantity(!) were so different. It wasn’t easy to come by, and it was tame- just pics or drawings of naked women, not every sexual whim imaginable.
These kids will now have a completely fake and very male fantasy version of what sex is like imprinted on their brains before they ever touch another naked human. Definitely not good for the girls, but certainly not good for the boys either. How many parents other than me are going to explain that porn is very, very fake, and no, most people don’t look like that, and that’s not at all how most of the humans on the planet have sex because it’s not a show– it’s a hugely important act between two humans who want to connect.
It’s even [weirder] to think that in a place like the US, you still have people believing things like teens shouldn’t have sex so they teach only abstinence, and yet all those kids have access to an infinite amount of porn. No sex ed, no realistic discussion of how to handle sexual feelings (ignore them!), no realistic conversation about what to expect and what not to expect from yourself or your partner…. just porn.