Written by Annemarie Manley
Climate change is often the underdog of issues, looked down upon as only cared about by “hippies” (or tree huggers), thought to be unsolvable, even dismissed as unreal. Many of us live in a perpetual state of denial towards the issue.
This is kind of horrifying, to be completely honest—because climate change could end us, all of us. And we’ve done it to ourselves. Sure, the planet experiences temperature fluctuations—but not to this degree, and not this quickly.
The science of Dr. Jim Hansen, among others, has spelled out that humans have caused this monstrous problem through our intense industrialization, and this selfsame science has also showed us that we need to cut back majorly on carbon emissions if we want to retain our humanity.
Speaking of humanity, we’re going to need to find some if we ever want to solve this issue. Because just like we’ve caused it together, as a species, we need to fix it together, as a species.
That’s precisely why the Paris COP21 talks were so big and important.
There have been talks like this in the past (hence the ”21” in COP21), but no conclusions were ever drawn, no finite agreements made. But these talks were different. Leaders from 195 different countries were represented; they set an ambitious goal which involved a two-step process to mitigate the devastation of climate change, written out in a 37-page document dubbed the “impossible agreement.” This is the biggest step we’ve taken, as a species, to work towards saving our planet, the one and only home we have, the irreplaceable Earth.
So an agreement has been made. It’s amazing, because there is finally hope for our species, hope for Earth.
But that’s pretty much all we have. Our leaders still need to do what they’ve said they’re going to do. Moreover, the plan still needs to pass in each country’s respective governing body. And there’s no guarantee that this will happen. That’s why we, the people, in order to preserve our once-perfect Earth, need to hold our leaders accountable. And within that, youth have a very unique place in this movement.
Listen to this this report from iMatter Youth Becky Chung about Paris COP21 and what it means to young people. Then read on for more…
As a member of the generation that’s going to most immediately experience climate change’s effects, I am not willing to lay down my future in exchange for the reelection of a politician, or anything petty and current. Climate change is just going to get worse… and while it wasn’t youth actions that caused it and we don’t have the leadership roles to make decisions to fight it on a large scale, it’s going to affect us in ways we don’t really want to think about. This makes the issue more personal. It’s our future we’re talking about here.
We, the youth, have decided that we’re not going to sit idly by and watch our future be squandered.
The human race has awakened a monster—we need to put it back to sleep before it’s too late. And we, the generation of the future, are not willing to risk getting eaten alive. The fact is that we can reign in the effects of climate change, there just needs to be enough initiative to do so. As Dr. Hansen and Makiko Sato have written,
“…whether climate change will be moderate — something humans and most species can adjust to — or whether climate change accelerates and spins out of control, with devastating consequences for future generations — that depends.”
It depends on what we can do about this problem now. So we here at iMatter have launched iMatterNow. This features youth activists evaluating their communities’ “greenness,” which involves fossil fuel emissions, renewable energy, waste management, etc. We’re going to be finding out how our communities are doing in regard to climate action, then demanding improvement. Because the truth is, these things need to be said, and there’s no one better to say it than youth.
Stand with us. Help us take our future back.
Listen to the latest full episode of the Green Divas Radio Show …
Photo credit: Ade Russell/ Flickr