Rija Hates Everything: 12 years or less


Illustration by Yasmin Haq

Humans have evolved into addressing personal threats fairly quickly, but the majority of us haven’t properly addressed a very serious threat: climate change.

I think that climate change is not being taken as seriously as other worldly issues because most of the people around me and on the internet think it’s a problem for the distant future — a problem for our grandchildren to solve.

Not true.

According to the United Nations, we have approximately 12 years or even less to limit this devastation that will leave major risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for millions of people. So no, our future grandchildren won’t even come close to existing if we keep telling ourselves that it’s their problem.

I know I can’t blame everyone else when the president himself calls this catastrophe a “hoax.”

Seriously, is there no one within Donald Trump’s cabinet or advisory who understands the impending climate change? Or is no one brave enough to let him know that protecting fossil fuel industries and preventing small efforts to lower emissions will be the cause of death for billionaires?

When an adult chooses to ignore a worldwide problem, one of my favorite teenage activists, Greta Thunberg chose the step to bring attention to it.

Thunberg started getting recognized when she started the first school strike for climate change outside the Swedish parliament building. Thunberg is one of “Time’s” top 25 most influential teenagers, and on International Women’s Day she was proclaimed the most important woman of the year in Sweden and is nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Thunberg said at the World Economic Forum, “I don’t want your hope, I don’t want to be hopeful. I want you to act as if your house was on fire.”

If you still don’t believe the fact that our world is changing, here’s what happening every day: coral reefs are dying, forests are crumbling to the ground, animals are slowly going extinct, our oceans are springing up because of melting ice and are nothing but plastic. Humans are planning their own destruction without realizing and the world is coming to a finale.