We need to be the generation of change

The Global Climate Strike, an environmental conservation organization, held a rally on Friday, Nov. 29 in order to let the government know they want climate action. 40 people attended, brought signs, and marched as a group up and down W. 7th  in the rain while shouting chants that encouraged activism.

Emily Lundell

The Global Climate Strike, an environmental conservation organization, held a rally on Friday, Nov. 29 in order to let the government know they want climate action. 40 people attended, brought signs, and marched as a group up and down W. 7th in the rain while shouting chants that encouraged activism.

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We’ve all seen the pictures of the polar bears in the melting arctic and the trees burning in the Amazon. We know about the Houston floods, the ice caps that are half their original size and that parts of California are on fire. However, this country has spent too much time arguing over the politics of climate change. We need to stop focusing on who caused it and start focusing on how we can survive in this new environment.

Climate change has become a partisan issue, despite the fact that it has a global impact. One side believes that we need to completely change our infrastructure, and the other side doesn’t seem as interested in addressing the issue. We need to realize that climate change is a complicated issue that can’t be solved with just one idea. The oceans are rising, the air is becoming polluted and the Earth is getting hotter. No matter our political opinions, we need to stop arguing and all agree that something needs to be done.

So far, Gen Z has taken it upon themselves to solve the climate crisis through buying metal straws and hydroflasks. While these efforts may help, plastic straws and water bottles make up just over a quarter of the Earth’s waste, not nearly enough to solve this looming problem. Also, recycling will likely not be enough to make the changes needed to protect the planet.

In reality, some of our generation’s attempts at reducing waste are only small efforts to make us feel better about ourselves. We need to realize that the efforts being made to save the turtles are not enough to save our planet. Retweeting an article about carbon emissions may spread awareness, but won’t lead to change. If we want to see any difference in how we treat the Earth, we need to take action ourselves.

Young climate activists, such as Greta Thunberg and Autumn Peltier have shown us that we can’t trust adults to fix the climate issue for us. Our government has done little to address the issue. President Trump has recently pulled us out of the Paris Climate Accord. Instead of joining in on an important agreement with 197 other countries to work towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we have decided to ignore a global issue and put America first. However, it’s hard to put America first when we’re all breathing the same air.

As a society, we have made a habit of putting off dealing with major issues. An example of this is the continuing problems with healthcare. It is up to our generation to stop this pattern of kicking things down the road. We need to take action. We have to keep the planet sustainable for our children and grandchildren. Rather than finding simple ways to “fix” climate change, we need to be more informed about it and its effects, so we can find out what we can do personally. It will only be a matter of years until the scientists and researchers of today will retire, leaving us to take their place. Instead of avoiding the climate crisis, we need to start paying attention to it today.

If we don’t care about our own future, we can’t expect anyone else to. By treating climate change like today’s adults, we will end up in the same endless cycle, which may be devastating for our planet. By learning from past generations’ mistakes and educating ourselves, we may be able to  help heal our Earth.