First, what is the "next generation"? (Hint: not a "Star Trek" spin-off.) Generation spans are notoriously tricky to define; for our purposes, let's just say that we're referring to present seniors in high school (as of 2011) and younger. The name for this generation is as vague as the dates we use to identify them: Generation Z, Generation Naught, Generation @, Generation M, the Internet Generation and others have all been used. Like all good students, we'll follow what our teachers tell us: The California Teachers Association calls them Generation Z, and we will too.
In the two or so previous generations to Generation Z, environmental protection and change went from emerging to emergency. As more science focused on the way our environment had changed after the Industrial Revolution, there was a general consensus amongst environmental activists and researchers that climate change was the primary issue to be addressed.