ABSTRACT

This chapter interrogates how journalists construct the trope of “generational conflict” to interpret and report on the social strife and struggle surrounding the climate crisis. In particular, this chapter critically assesses generational stereotypes and claims of irreconcilable differences between Gen Z, Millennials, and Boomers. As an illustration of these stereotypes and their limitations, this chapter analyzes—through a critical discourse analysis—how Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Greta Thunberg (both highly visible Millennial and Gen Z climate leaders, respectively) are represented in one of the United States’ most widely distributed politics and news magazines: TIME. Ultimately, this chapter contends that the image of a “generation war” is leveraged to explain contemporary climate politics as opposed to cross-generational organizing against historical systems of power.