Climate Change: It Can’t Wait

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Climate Change: It Can’t Wait

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Whether you lean left or right on political issues, it’s hard to deny the scientific facts that prove our earth is actively suffering the effects of climate change and global warming. From severe or unpredictable weather patterns to melting glaciers in Greenland and Alaska, the world is in major trouble and scientists believe we only have 12 years left to slow down global warming before the effects worsen. 

As students, we mostly feel like we can’t do anything about our dissatisfaction with the current political stance on climate change, but youth presence in the media right now is contradicting that. On Sept. 20, students around the world skipped school to attend over 4,000 separate events to demand action. Students have taken more initiative and have begun to address the climate crisis that we are currently facing by asking the government to reduce carbon emissions and to devise a plan to stay within 1.5 degrees Celsius of global heating, because beyond that, the current effects go from bad to terrifying.

I’ve recently been inspired to get more involved in the climate conversation because of 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has become a prominent leader in the movement to educate people on climate change. She has made major political statements like sailing 13 days across the Atlantic Ocean in a zero emission boat to avoid the greenhouse gasses that planes emit and giving a passionate speech addressing government officials at the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit on Sept. 23. 

“This is all wrong,” Thunberg said in her speech. “I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!” The powerful nature of her words expectantly shocked some people, but more importantly, it got influential leaders to acknowledge her message of urgency. This speech is what really made me emotionally connected to the related issues of climate change because it is more serious than people realize, and in the future it will be a life or death situation.  After she vocalized her demand for change, a panel of 15 other young activists filed a legal complaint against five separate countries for violating the rights of a child by not taking proper measures to control global warming. This gives me hope for the future because it’s inspiring to see teenagers standing at the front lines and influencing not only their peers, but adults too. 

The main goal of these efforts was to demand the attention of national representatives in order to facilitate the reform of climate policies. A solution to the threat of global warming has been the promotion of the Green NewDeal, which is a congressional resolution proposed in February to eventually stop the use of fossil fuels in the U.S. and establish a more sustainable clean energy industry. I think at this point every decision we make is 

vital to ease the effects of the climate crisis, which is why everyone should be pressuring powerful officials to take action. This is especially important now, because the 2020 elections are getting closer by the day so a candidate’s response to the expansive amount of strikes that recently took place reflects heavily on their electability. 

That being said, get out there: go research, go protest, get on social media and connect with other activists. Join a strike and vote in the next election if you can. You are never too young to be heard or to make a difference. Our voices are more important now than they ever have been. It is our responsibility to recognize the state of our climate because we are going to inhabit this planet long after the current political leaders. We are the next generation of voters, so knowledge on issues like climate change is of immense importance. 


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