By Ellie Raidt
It is well known worldwide that we are in the midst of an environmental apocalypse. Our planet cannot adapt to the way we are developing. With increasing population and demand for new technologies, material goods, food, and entertainment, it is difficult for our environment and ecosystem to stay stable. Our home is choking on our excessive level of fossil fuel and drowning in our rising seas. This is not only a risk for humanity, but a burden for the youth of the world to clean up after those before them who left this mess.
For years, the newest generations have been making it clear to the leaders of the world that they need to work harder toward the end goal of a clean Earth. Youth are making their voices heard and are not afraid to step up and speak up to those in power. For example, young women like Varshini Prakash, who led a 150-student protest outside then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's office. Also Xiye Bastida, who is one of the many leaders of the youth climate movement. Young men like Benji Backer, who, despite being conservative, submitted his testimony to Congress stating that environmental wellness should be world governments’ No. 1 priority, as it impacts every single person. Also Vic Barrett, who is a part of the Alliance for Climate Education, one of the most important movements in the world today. Lastly, the renowned Greta Thunberg, who at only 16 years old has spoken to United Nations leaders about how they have betrayed the young people of the world by leaving a mess of a planet.
In August of 2018, Thunberg began the soon worldwide school strike by sitting on the steps of the Swedish Parliament every Friday in a silent, solitary protest. Thirteen months later, this led to a worldwide strike of about 7.6 million participants throughout 185 countries, the largest climate strike in history. Millions marched the streets with signs reading clever statements on single-use plastics and fossil fuels, grabbing the attention of pedestrians, city-goers, and most importantly, the world’s political leaders. In December Thunberg was named Time’s Person of the Year.
These people are making it clear that they are willing to stand for the one thing that every person has in common: our planet and home. It is still unclear exactly how the United Nations will act upon the requests being made from millions of people across the globe, if at all. One thing is clear: the Climate Crisis is making headlines and being acknowledged, which is more than what we have had in far too long. If politicians do not act when millions of people are on the streets rather than at school or work, then there is likely nothing that will impact their judgment.
If humans are going to reach the year 3000, the world needs to stop talking and start acting. Carbon emissions must be cut to zero, agriculture must become entirely sustainable, and green energy must be implemented as part of daily life. The Climate Crisis is a mountain that is seemingly impossible to summit, but with people like Greta, Benji, Varshini, Vic, Xiye, and the almost 8 million activists standing up for our home, there is hope for a green future.
Ellie Raidt is a first-year high school student who previously wrote a piece for The Fact Sheet.
Our blog is a space for stories of the natural world and the occasional post about communications, strategy and policy.