“Adults keep saying we owe it to the young people, to give them hope, but I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.” - Greta Thunberg
You told me that the sky's the limit. You told me I’d only live once. You told me life is what I’d make it, but what if the possibility of that life no longer exists? My future has been ripped out from under my feet, and I have been left abandoned by older generations and big corporations, left to defend myself against an ever changing world that’s rapidly reaching its decline. How would you feel to know that your future isn’t promised at the age of 17? That’s how I feel every day.
The UN states that between 1880 to 2012, the average global temperature has risen by 0.85°C (33.53°F). Our oceans have warmed and led to the diminishment of large amounts of snow and ice, causing a rise in our sea level. The report states, “Given current concentrations and ongoing emissions of greenhouse gases, it is likely that by the end of this century global mean temperature will continue to rise above the pre-industrial level. The world’s oceans will warm and ice melt will continue… Most aspects of climate change will persist for many centuries, even if emissions are stopped.”
In 2030 I will be 29, the age where I should be traveling while I can, building my career and spending time with my loved ones. But what if I told you that around the year 2030 there is a possibility that we will set off an irreversible chain of events that could lead to the end of our civilization? This would prevent me and my generation from ever being able to experience most of the trials and tribulations of life, or that “point of no return” could occur much sooner than anticipated. To the disbelief of many, each and every one of these statements is backed up by scientific facts through the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
This is a climate crisis. It is both the easiest and hardest issue we have ever faced. We must stop our emissions. Unfortunately our economy is still dependent on the burning of fossil fuels and destroying ecosystems in order to create everlasting economic growth. And my question to both you and these big corporations is, what is valued more, my future or your profit? This is a crisis. We must act as we do in a crisis. This is my cry for help.
I’m tired of excuses. No, this isn’t a partisan issue. No, this isn’t fake news. And yes, your actions matter even if there are 7 billion people in this world. Most of you don’t want to listen to us. You claim we are just children, yet most of us are only repeating the message from the united climate science. We are not sacrificing our time, energy, and in some cases education, for you to tell us what is or isn’t politically possible. We are doing this to wake up the adults. The time is now. Take action now. The lives of your future generations and all of humanity are on the line. Mine, your grandkids, and even your great-grandkids. Put your differences aside and do something before it’s too late.
Some simple ways to help lessen your carbon footprint include:
-Reduce and reuse before you recycle: It turns out that transporting and processing materials for recycling is actually carbon intensive. Recycling still uses less energy than making new products from scratch, but reducing, reusing and refusing are even cleaner.
-Purchase and use reusable items: Instead of using a plastic cup or straw every time you get a coffee or a drink, purchase a reusable cup and metal or bamboo straw.
-Switch to LED Lightbulbs: Take energy saving initiatives in your home one step further by changing your light bulbs to LEDs. Although they’re more expensive, they are so much more energy efficient, which in turn frees you from exorbitant electricity bills.
-Make your voice heard: Join the climate conversation virtually. Post/repost information for your peers to see. Or you could even join a climate march. It’s important to show that we are more determined than ever to meet the challenges facing humanity with hope, and not fear.