If your house was on fire, would you deny that it was burning? No, of course you wouldn’t. So why are there still people who refuse to acknowledge the dire situation the planet we live on will face if the government does not take serious steps to stop global warming?
It’s hard to fix a problem when so many people are in denial that the issues our planet faces are real. Even the President of the United States does not think that climate change and global warming are ideas we need to be concerned about, despite the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence proving otherwise.
The problem of ignorance and denial is especially prevalent in older generations, who are either unaware of the crisis we face or believe it will not affect them. While 70 percent of Americans ages 18-29 were able to recognize climate change as a serious issue, only 58 percent of Americans ages 65 and older see things the same way. But as 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, a now-famous climate activist from Sweden, put it, “We are all in the same boat. Everyone should be concerned about this.”.
In anticipation of the 2019 Climate Action Summit (set to take place in New York City on September 23rd, people are taking to the streets in a global climate strike. Students here at UConn, myself included, are meeting in front of the Student Union this Friday morning, joining thousands of others across the country and the world to persuade our legislation of the importance of taking immediate action for climate justice ).
It’s great to see so many individuals, especially high school and college students, coming together for a cause that becomes increasingly more relevant the more we learn about the state of our planet’s health. But the simple fact that we need thousands of people organizing locally and worldwide to spread awareness that climate change is indeed real and our government needs to do something about it is absurd.
Why has the responsibility somehow fallen on my generation to raise awareness for the problems created by large corporations and their ignorance of the state of the planet? The selfish mindset of so many older American citizens has not taken into account the future of the Earth: a future many seem to take for granted. The responsibility is falling on people who are barely out of high school to do something about a problem that our parents and grandparents have created and subsequently downplayed.
Our government needs to take action now, and they shouldn’t need the presence of all these colorful signs with clever slogans to encourage them to do so. It’s wonderful that so many people are stepping out of school and work to wave signs and shout for change, but public demonstrations shouldn’t be required to help us realize that we have a problem that requires serious action. We live on the Earth, so we need to take care of it; why do people need to see throngs of teenagers waving signs to acknowledge that simple truth?
The responsibility to raise awareness for climate change should not fall on any one generation, just as it should not fall on any one person. This is our planet, and even if you’re not going to be here in forty years, someone you love is.
The reasons to put an end to climate change should be self-explanatory; our government should see the necessity of taking steps to save our planet before it is too late. But if a global collective of people striking is the best way to get our leaders to take legislative steps to avoid irreversible damage to the planet, then I will continue to go out there and wave my protest signs. I’ll do it for the planet that my generation and all those after me need to call home for years to come.
Kayla Simon is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.