Temperatures Are Rising and So Are We

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Temperatures Are Rising and So Are We

A sampling of activists' protest signs.

A sampling of activists' protest signs.

Photo by Kristina Dolan

A sampling of activists' protest signs.

Photo by Kristina Dolan

Photo by Kristina Dolan

A sampling of activists' protest signs.

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You think you’ve heard it all before, I know. You’ve had “ozone layer” and “global warming” as vocabulary words in every science class you’ve taken since the fifth grade.

On Earth Day each year, you’ve been told to take shorter showers and recycle as often as possible. Maybe you’re a true model citizen, who even brings reusable bags to the grocery store in place of using the plastic ones (whether that action is motivated by an urge to help the environment, or the desire to save five cents, I’m not sure, but the positive effect is the same either way).

Every small contribution helps, don’t get me wrong, but climate change is a much larger issue than many people may believe, with much more complicated solutions.

Mr. Schuster, who teaches marine science and runs the ecology club at Pat-Med, explained why it should be taken more seriously.

“The changing climate has a negative impact to wildlife and ecosystems. Every living organism has a place in providing stability to our ecosystems…(but) there are many organisms that can’t react to the change as quickly as it’s happening.”

He also said that climate change could lead to more destructive weather. Storms fueled by heat energy may become more intense and able to cause more damage.

Luckily, the fight against climate change has been growing lately, ever since 15-year-old Greta Thunberg decided to skip school on Fridays to protest the government’s inaction on the matter. Thus #FridaysForFuture was born.

One TED talk, several powerful speeches, and millions of followers later, Thunberg’s most recent feat was inspiring the September 20th global climate change strike.

People in cities and countries around the globe took to the streets to demand their political leaders to address the climate crisis. An estimate of 4 million took part worldwide, including 250,000 in New York City alone.

“I think that the environmental rallies are important to keep reminding corporations that their actions are being watched.”

— Mr. Schuster

The timing of the rallies was no coincidence either. On the following Monday, September 23rd, the United Nations Climate Action Summit was held. Thunberg herself traveled from England to NYC on an emission-free sailboat to attend. She delivered a passionate, heart-breaking speech, emphasizing the devastating effects climate change has already caused, and will cause in the future.

“Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money, and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you,” she criticized. “The young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.”

All hope is not lost though. Our generation can still make a difference.

Mr. Schuster said, “I think that the environmental rallies are important to keep reminding corporations that their actions are being watched.”

Activism helps spread education, “not just to young people but adults too.”

Greta Thunberg also closed her UN speech on a positive note. “Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.”

I hope that she’s correct.

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