Gen Z Fights Climate Change

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Gen Z Fights Climate Change

graphic by Gelila Negesse

graphic by Gelila Negesse

graphic by Gelila Negesse

Ingrid Vanegas, Reporter

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From Sept. 20 to 27, 150 countries took part in the Global Climate Strike, a school walkout for young children to call out leaders who are ignoring the climate crisis. As concerns over the climate continue to rise, youth around the world are becoming more aware of what this means for their future and speaking out against those in power.

According to NASA, the effects of the climate crisis include increasing temperatures, higher sea levels and unpredictable weather patterns.

“The reason why people are starting to finally realize this is an issue is because there’s a lot of pressing matters, primarily with climate change,” environmental science teacher  Alex Messer said. “We’re seeing much more drastic changes in temperature from summertime to wintertime, and with that, it also means that our water levels are starting to rise, and low lands or low coastal lands are going to be affected.”

These growing effects are causing more people to take action. This includes the mass number of people who participated in the Global Climate Strike. International environmental organization website, 350.org, states that over 400 million people took part in the strike. With more people working for change, Environmental Club sponsor Dr. Marilyn Bland believes we may be able to avoid a disastrous future.

“I think it’s urgent that we take action now before we reach a point where whatever we do will be too late,” Bland said. “I think we need to take action to improve our lives and our environment, regardless of whether we reach the turning point or not.”

Although past generations may not worry about this problem as much, the future of America’s youth will be greatly affected if society doesn’t start working towards minimizing threats to the environment. These threats include droughts, drastic changes in weather and environmental landscapes completely changing, like the melting glaciers in Antarctica.

“If creatures become extinct, if plants die out, if the environment changes and it becomes unrecognizable, our kids will have lost so much,” Bland said. “Things will be very different in the future if we have such loses and we don’t address those loses now.”

Messer empathizes with the youth, because they will be the ones who are left to deal with the consequences of pollution and the sporadic climate change.

“It’s admirable because it’s at least a future generation that actually cares what’s going on,” Messer said. “Unfortunately, that’s also going to be the generation that inherits the mess from previous generations.”

Alongside children, are adults who feel that after years of no effort in stopping climate change, they should start putting in the work so that the country and planet have a viable future.

“I think the most ‘adult’ way to respond is realizing that collectively as humans, we haven’t done what’s right, but now we need to do what’s right. Otherwise, it’s going to be irreversible, and it’s going to cause a whole lot of problems in the future,” Messer said.

Bland believes children may be the only chance we have for the future. Greta Thunberg, a Swedish 16-year-old and the organizer and leader of the Global Climate Strikes and marches called “Fridays for Future.” These marches were designed for kids to walk-out of their school and workplaces to support the action that is needed for climate change. Since September”, Thunberg has become the young face behind protests for the climate crisis. She has organized a variety of speeches and walkouts from New York to across the Atlantic in Madrid, Spain.

“They have a major role to play because they are the future,” Bland said. “I think they have the energy, and they have the potential to make change.”

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