I’m worried. Genuinely worried. With the growing effects of climate change, it seems like we’ve been burdened with the mistakes and ignorance of our predecessors. Is it so hard to care about the world around us?
22nd April. Earth day. Following this day of awareness, Climate Change has become a phrase more engrained in our society and our everyday vernacular than ever before. It is a day to celebrate environmental protection, annually commemorated since 1970. But how much of the environment have we managed to protect in these 49 years? It simply feels like we’re doing the opposite.
Despite the loud voice of urgency and anger coming from our youth, symbolized through socio-political movements such as the Extinction Rebellion, or even the courageous, 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, it seems the children of today are taking matters into their own hands. Facing the threat of environmental breakdown with wide open eyes, politics doesn’t seem to be responding to this threat with the same urgency that they should be. On the contrary, it just doesn’t seem like the big world leaders are caring enough. And this divide will inevitably lead to the demise of our generation, and of our beloved planet.
On April 15th, we all witnessed the Notre-Dame de Paris fire, undoubtedly a horrendous tragedy for the French nation and its people alike. However, it inevitably raised a larger question at hand. With nearly 1 billion raised to help rebuild the French cathedral, which was donated in a matter of hours, imagine how much money could be raised fighting causes such as climate change if people truly cared?
While my mother’s company sold sustainable water bottles and eco-friendly tableware, my father worked in renewable energy production promoting solar energy, until a German politician put the brakes on sustainable energy a few years back. Today, more than ever, I’ve come to realize how my parents were quite ahead of their time. Or perhaps they weren’t. Perhaps what they did is what our generation should have done many years ago. Now, with the increase of CO2 emissions furthering ozone depletion and our oceans suffocating under plastic pollution, all I’m hearing are the words ‘too late’.
Yet Greta Thunberg has passionately fought against these very words, becoming a powerful symbol of determination, truth and care with her fearless speech against the politicians at the UN Climate Change COP24 Conference. Her words made me cheer. Her words made me say, ‘Finally someone said it.’ Her speech not only encouraged me, but inspired a global number of children and students alike to raise their voices and demand action in preventing global warming. The School Strike for the Climate was their response. Think about it, the fact that children are demonstrating the most initiative and determination in fighting climate change signals more than anything how little time we have left. What more indications do we need to not only address, but finally tackle, the prevention of global warming?
Overall, it’s the collective ambition of changing our simple ways in life, such as decreasing our individual plastic footprint, which might save the little inkling of our planet we have left. From carrying around my eco-bottle, changing my diet or simply switching to a bamboo toothbrush, small, collective steps will hopefully eradicate the words, ‘It’s too late’. Hopefully, our voices will finally be heard. Hopefully, world politics will view the climate crisis with the same wide, open eyes our children are acknowledging, and consistently fighting, against this threat. Hopefully, they’ll care. For the sake of the next generation, our generation, and the next generation. In the words of Greta Thunberg, “the only sensible thing to do, is pull the emergency brake”.