Generation Z and Electrical Co-Op's shared values

December 2, 2022

 • BY Cora Wood

Cora Wood at the White House on the 2022 Youth Tour
Cora Wood at the White House on the 2022 Youth Tour
Cora Wood at the White House on the 2022 Youth Tour
Cora Wood at the White House on the 2022 Youth Tour

Generation Z includes young people often described as environmentally concerned, ethically motivated and action-oriented.

Meanwhile, electric cooperatives serve the members who own them by promoting community interest, local economic development and a sense of communal cooperation for the greater good.

These effects are largely valued by Generation Z, whose priorities and qualities align perfectly with the co-op business model.

The Pew Research Center found that 67% of Generation Z believes climate change should be a top priority. Electric co-ops are diversifying their sources of electricity every day to fight climate change — expanding on use of renewable energy by installing solar panels and other increasingly popular energy sources to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. According to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, America’s co-ops have managed to reduce these emissions by 17% since 2017.

Generation Z was not a term in 1935, when the Rural Electrification Act facilitated the formation of co-ops. But the people behind the REA and the formation of electrical co-ops were similarly action-oriented, which Generation Z appreciates. Electric utilities denied access to electricity for farmers and other rural citizens, telling them to simply get it themselves. They did exactly that, building power lines and other electrical resources that would, over time, provide electricity to millions of Americans.

While Generation Z believes ethics can change over time, they also strongly believe in what is considered right and wrong. Electrical co-ops place a similarly immense value on ethics, as reflected in their business model. These businesses desire to serve rural citizens who would otherwise not have access to electricity. Electrical co-ops ensure all citizens have equal access to safe, reliable electrical resources.

Perhaps without even realizing their electricity is provided by a business that promotes these values, Generation Z members care about the same things as an electrical co-op — the environment, ethics and action.

Cora Wood

Cora Wood

Cora Wood is a senior at William Henry Harrison High School in West Lafayette. In 2022, Cora was among 13 area students representing Tipmont REMC in the Indiana Youth Tour delegation to Washington, D.C. Cora was chosen as Indiana’s Youth Leadership Council delegate — earning a $1,000 scholarship and the ability to represent Indiana at the 2023 NRECA Annual Meeting in March 2023.