So, the word of 2017 has just been revealed as … Youthquake – defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people’.
The word hasn’t just been chosen because of the results of June’s election, which saw a totally unexpected surge of younger voters.
This youth engagement in politics carried on right through the summer, most notably recorded with the crowd chants of ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’ at Glastonbury in late June.
However, the largest spike in the use of the word was in September when, thanks to the precedent established in the UK, Youthquake was rapidly picked up and used by both press and politicians during New Zealand’s general election – and this set the word firmly on its way to become a fixture of political discourse.
Be honest, had you heard of it?
Although I personally hadn’t registered the word until I heard John Humphries interview Countdown’s Susie Dent on Friday’s Today on Radio 4, the word actually goes back to 1965, when the editor-in-chief of Vogue, Diana Vreeland, declared it the year of the youthquake.
In the January US editorial, she wrote: “The year’s in its youth, the youth in its year. … More dreamers. More doers. Here. Now. Youthquake 1965”.
The term does encapsulate an earthquake involving the youth of the day, which does sum up one of the main themes of 2017 for me.
I’m a great believer in involvement and engagement, especially as we see momentous change facing us from Brexit and the ongoing aftermath of the financial crash. We also face serious challenges ahead getting our political masters to continue focusing on the key issue of climate change.
At Mitsubishi Electric, we’ve always felt it is important to engage with all ages and this is part of the thinking behind our own primary school environmental education programme – The Learning Curve, which seeks to promote recycling, re-use and renewables amongst tomorrow’s consumers.
They after all, will hopefully become the youthquake of tomorrow and help drive us all towards a more sustainable future.