Youth from all over the world skipped school for climate strikes last Friday. The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that 100 students attended a Youth Climate Strike at the old courthouse last Friday. United States youth only began to participate in climate strikes when it became “trendy.” Maybe we’re too busy trying not to get shot up in school, but that’s a different story.
To be fair, we’re the first generation to know we’re killing the earth. We’re also the last who can do anything about it.
There’s a lot we need to do folks– more than rallying around government buildings with Instagramable posters.
We’re all in college here. There’s no point in getting our degrees now if the planet will be dead by the time we’re 50. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) basically wrote a eulogy for the earth last October, but all people cared about was what Beyonce would dress as for Halloween.
IPCC’s report wrote that the earth naturally warms. The increase we’re seeing is not at the rate the earth has seen in the last 100 years. Global warming will reach to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) between 2030 and 2052 according to the report. IPCC’s findings sparked worldwide fear about what would happen if the earth warmed by another half degree.
Let’s put this small increase into context: 411 million people would face water scarcity, coral reefs would practically disappear, ice would melt and water would swallow any low-lying communities, corn plants won’t grow corn, 37% of the world’s population would face extreme heat, the water deficit we already face would double, warm regions of the earth would become inhabitable by humans because of their scorching temperatures.
In short– we’re screwed if we don’t do anything. Youth in other countries such as France, the United Kingdom, and Sweden began protesting for climate reform well before the turn of the century.
We can strike all we want, but until the current presidential administration is over, we need to turn our focus more introspectively. The United States is the second largest contributor of carbon dioxide emissions. We surpass giants like India whose population has hundreds of millions more people than the U.S.
If we can’t convince our president to act, let’s act ourselves.
We need to cut back on our carbon emissions. Students everywhere should carpool to class or advocate for their schools to divest from fossil fuels. Youth and young adults can push for their workplaces to recycle waste if they don’t already.
Or, on a simpler level, we should educate those around us on how important it is that we change for our earth. Last March, Gallup, an analytics company, found in a poll that half of Americans don’t think climate change will affect them.
Even if one cannot accept climate change, they cannot deny how humans have massively polluted the earth. A 2016, a study by the Center for Environmental Sustainability estimated that the ocean contains five trillion pieces of plastic debris. Some fish have evolved to eat plastic as a food source. Humans in turn eat this plastic through the fish.
People, wake up and smell the carbon dioxide.
Air pollution now kills more people than smoking, according to a study by The European Heart Union. That’s 8.8 million deaths in 2015. Air pollution, which damages blood vessels, leads to cardiovascular and respiratory disease.
This is our earth. If we don’t fight for it now, it’ll be too late in the future.