Climate change is perhaps the single biggest threat to humanity right now and for the foreseeable future. So, there’s no one better to fight it off than those who will be most affected by it -- the young people.
Not to sound too alarming but anyone paying attention to climate change facts knows that Earth’s future is in danger. A lot of uncertainty surrounds the future in regards to where the climate is headed with increased impact as time passes. More and more and year after year, you will start noticing different signs that are not welcomed by anyone. And the people in the present who will be most affected by this change are, of course, young people. This is mostly due to the fact that within the next two decades alone global temperatures will likely rise 1.5 degrees Celsius, and also then there’s the fact that each of the last seven years has been the warmest on record continuously. As such, unless you’re just not paying attention at all, the signs are clear — climate change is a danger to all. That also includes one million species at risk of extinction, so this is clearly a matter of life-and-death by any measurement.
One thing that’s pretty clear is that the main cause of climate change is human beings themselves. The carbon dioxide released in the atmosphere, through burning oil, stays there for long periods, and as such it negatively affects climate. Additionally, acts of deforestation, use of power plants, overuse of individual transport vehicles, throwing waste/garbage into the oceans, etc., all affect climate negatively too. Moreover, with the loss of 1.2 trillion tons of ice each year, it’s evident that the more society continues in this path the worse things will get.
In theory, while people currently at more of advanced age can go on about their day without having to worry about facing many of the consequences of climate change personally, empathy for the younger generation and young people having a more active voice in decisions that affect climate should be encouraged.
There Are Those Who Doubt Science
A lot of times the first step to finding a solution to a problem is acknowledging that there is a problem to begin with. There are still unfortunately a lot of people who don’t think that climate change is a real issue, mostly due to the rapid spread of misinformation through social media and due to a lot of people not believing something is going on unless they witness it first-hand. Although there is empirical evidence that shows the rise of maximum temperatures including that of the ocean, and disturbing melting glacier in Antarctica and Greenland (which affects sea levels and threatens life on land), there are still those who doubt science.
You might even hear things like: “But the winters are always so cold where I live, therefore global warming is not real,” which by any scientific metric makes no sense as an argument.
An article by BBC’s Matt McGrath reporting on the science of global warming, titled “Climate Change: Arctic warming linked to cold winters” explains: “The scientists found that heating in the region ultimately disturbed the circular pattern of winds known as the polar vortex. This allowed colder winter weather to flow down to the US, notably in the Texas cold wave in February”. In summary, global warming affects the arctic which in turn pushes colder winters to countries that have not experienced such colds for centuries, if ever.
Young Activists Are Here to Help
When looking at the current state of things and the mere facts of the situation we’ve all (but mostly just rich corporations abusing carbon dioxide) put ourselves in, it’s easy to feel hopeless. However, one great thing to remember is that the younger generation seems way more involved and attentive to this issue.
Perhaps because of a need more so than just an interest, young people are realizing more and more that something has to be done and it has to be done now. In the upcoming years, living conditions in regards to climate will simply continue to get worse and worse.
There are about 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10-24 currently living on Earth. The older generations have failed to do anything in the fight against global warming and now the people born from the mid-90s and forward, find themselves in a very tough situation. The future looks scary right now, but awareness of such issues is at an all-time high.
Young activists like Nisreen Elsaim, who speaks on how climate change is affecting the living conditions and ultimately forcing people to leave their homes in Africa, say that young people are part of the solution. She adds that giving young people more space to use their voices is vital.
Paloma Costa, a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change, has spent the last few years fighting the good fight. When asked by the UN Development Programme on what inspires her work and the challenges she faces, she said: “It started when I began to understand what climate emergency really means… I really focus on participation because if we have a problem like the climate emergency, we at least have to decide on it together through true participation, diversity, and inclusion”.
Greta Thunberg, perhaps one of the most recognizable names in the climate change fight, started by protesting outside the Swedish parliament at the age of 15. “School Strike for Climate” was her slogan, and eventually she caught the eyes of the world. Her pure dedication to fighting global warming is admirable and has done wonders in terms of bringing attention to these issues. She has been incredibly active on social media and in-person, constantly voicing her concerns with how global governments are not doing enough to fight climate change. She is a key reason not only that a lot more people are aware of these issues, but also because she has inspired many other young activists around the world to join the fight as well.
The official site of NASA: Climate Change and Global Warming offers science-based factual information, news, and all the related updates. This is a good starting point but what matters most is effort. No one can get things right 100% of the time, but through proper research and follow-through action maybe one day we can all simply enjoy our everyday life without having to constantly worry about how impossible it will be to go outside at all on a hot summer day.
The time for action has already passed, but it’s still not too late to do something about an issue that affects every single human being alive. It’s now or never, and if you’re a young person specifically, it better be now.
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