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Op-eds

Youth rings alarm bells about climate crisis

  • climate change activists
The world is in a climate crisis and it’s because of humans. It’s simple, if the earth dies, we die too. This fact should shock us into action, and for many it does.
by RUBY KAPELUSCHNIK and TALYA BARTEL | Oct 10, 2019

Millions around the world have changed their lifestyles, whether it be by recycling, attending climate-change strikes, or changing their diet. However, there are many who are simply indifferent towards the crisis.

It stems from a lack of care for the earth. These people clearly do not have their priorities in order.

Our society forces us to believe that money and materialism are the most important things in life, yet without our beautiful planet, none of these things would exist.

There are two main reasons for the naivety shown by some. The first is a lack of education. If we aren’t exposed to the climate crisis at home or at school, it’s difficult to cultivate sense of loving and caring for the environment.

The second is that many choose to ignore the facts. The science has been clear for more than 30 years, warning us that the way we treat our planet is unsustainable.

The facts are clear. There is increasing climate change; the rate of the Antarctic ice-mass loss has tripled over the past decade; glaciers in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, and Alaska are retreating; and sea levels are rising, causing an increase in flooding in low-lying areas that forces thousands of people to leave their homes.

An example closer to home is the tropical cyclone known as Idai that hit Mozambique in March this year. We experienced the effects first-hand because the cyclone interrupted the electricity supply to South Africa, and we therefore had to endure intense load-shedding.

Temperatures around the world are the most extreme in recorded history, and scientists say that about 150 to 200 species of plant, insect, bird, and mammal go extinct every day.

The world is at a tipping point, and if we don’t act fast, it will become a point of no return. Fortunately, over the past year we have seen a tremendous shift in the way the youth are reacting towards climate change.

Greta Thunberg is a 16-year-old Swedish activist. In August 2018, she began the campaign “Friday’s for Future”. Every Friday, she would protest outside the Swedish parliament about the need for immediate action to combat climate change.

On 20 September 2019, people from 4 500 different places in 150 different countries attended climate strikes. According to 350.org, about 7.6 million people took part in these strikes worldwide. These numbers are inspiring, and it’s clear that change really is coming, whether we like it or not.

Ruby Kapeluschnik and Talya Bartal are Grade 11 pupils at King David Victory Park High School.

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