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(Image of a march in New Zealand, Mashable)    (Image of a march in France)
→ Intro: Climate change. The biggest issue of our generation and of those who come after us. Cynical adults may see it as simply a mass hysteria, a new challenge of our generation has to face, just as theirs had to face their own set of problems – a rite of passage of sorts. Representative of the youth and our frustration of leadership being monopolized by cantankerous and obsolete politicians, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg gained notoriety in late 2018 for her speech to the UN. The teen has since become the revered leader of this resurgence in ‘climate consciousness’ which first arose as a consequence of the Chernobyl disaster in the 80s. Her words have made such a powerful impact that she has just been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, joining the ranks of Malala Yousafzai, Mahatma Gandhi and Emily Green Balche. Protests and strikes have been occurring worldwide in order to call out leaders about their inactivity and their active breeching of the Paris Agreement. The majority of people involved in this movement are the youths.
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(Image of Greta Thunberg from The New Scientist)
→ The history of climate change: To say that climate change science is something recent, that has only developed since the XXth century, is simply untrue. The truth? We’ve known about climate change since 1896, and we’ve understood the severity of the problem since the 1950s. In 1896 Professor Svante Arrhenius, published a paper entitled “On the influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground”. Although he may not have seen it as an inherently “bad” or “harmful” thing, it proves that this issue is something that hasn’t just been discovered. However, it is true that climate change has only been a cause for public consternation since about the late XXth century.
→ Our future?
As Greta Thunberg insightfully states, we often look at the effects of climate change until about 2050. But what happens after 2050? Blank.  The answer is that the damage humans have caused in terms of carbon emissions and other pollutants is irreversible, so even if we stop polluting tomorrow, we will still suffer the consequences of years of misdoings.  The Earth will be globally warmer, some cities and towns will already be flooded and there will be water shortages. But how bad the repercussions of our actions will be is still up to us – for the moment.
→ the climate change denial argument:
You also have people who prefer not to see it that the effects of climate change are inevitable, imminent and dire. “Climate change deniers” or “climate change skeptics” come in a few types: those who don’t believe in climate change at all, those who don’t believe that it is caused by humans or those who simply prefer to live in oblivion and leave the next generation bear the burden. Many climate change deniers are fossil fuel producers, as abnegating the very existence or severity of the issue is, simply put, better for business. In fact, it has been reported that oil tycoons such as Shell or Exxon had predicted the detrimental effects of their commodities in the 1980s. Still, the green of money seems more alluring to businessmen than the green of the Earth. Many politicians are also climate change deniers propagating falsehoods on a population which hangs on their every word. One of the most infamous climate change deniers is none other than President Donald Trump. He believes that “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”. I beg to differ.
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(Image from Mashable)
→ Now what?
Greta Thunberg claims that “the climate crisis has already been solved and that all we have to do is wake up and change.” . We have solutions: scientists have come up with hundreds of viable measures that are realistic in order to lessen the effects of climate change. (look up “how to solve climate change Tedx”, if you don’t believe me!). But as much as we’d all like to blame politicians for their inactivity, it’s also up to us. We must effect change and make sacrifices. We are the ones who must ask for measures to be implemented and actually follow them. But in order to do that we need politicians who will not be corrupted by industries profiting from polluting the Earth and that can implement equitable laws. The notion of “Climate Equity”, means that everyone can benefit and actually follow laws and regulations put into place to mitigate climate change. This is a crucial component in the politics involved of this crisis.
It’s up to us not to make Wall-E a reality.
Now, talk to your local and regional authorities in your town, school or even community and see what you can do about fighting climate change.
What will you do to help?
Bibliography:
Miller, Dan, director. A Simple and Smart Way to Fix Climate Change | Dan Miller | TEDxOrangeCoast. Tedx, YouTube, 23 Oct. 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=0k2-SzlDGko Thunberg, Greta. “Transcript of ‘La Grève De L’école Pour Le Climat – Sauver Le Monde En Changeant Les Règles | Greta Thunberg | TEDxStockholm.’” TED, 12 Dec. 2018, www.ted.com/talks/greta_thunberg_school_strike_for_climate_save_the_world_by_changing_the_rules/transcript?language=fr Franta, Benjamin. “Shell and Exxon’s Secret 1980s Climate Change Warnings | Benjamin Franta.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 19 Sept. 2018, www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/sep/19/shell-and-exxons-secret-1980s-climate-change-warnings Kaufman, Mark. “Why Trump’s EPA Wants to Kill the Nation’s Most Ambitious Climate Change Plan.” Mashable, Mashable, 21 Aug. 2018, mashable.com/article/trump-kills-clean-power-plan/ Katherine Richardson, professor and leader of the Sustainability Science Centre, University of Copenhagen. “What Will Our Climate Look like in 2050?” Sciencenordic.com, ScienceNordic, 24 Sept. 2017, Lieu, Johnny. “The Student Climate Strikes Have Kicked off, and There Were Excellent Signs.” Mashable, Mashable, 15 Mar. 2019, mashable.com/article/school-climate-strike-begins/ Vaughan, Adam. “Greta Thunberg: Why I Began the Climate Protests That Are Going Global.” New Scientist, 13 Mar. 2019, www.newscientist.com/article/mg24132213-400-greta-thunberg-why-i-began-the-climate-protests-that-are-going-global/.
http://sciencenordic.com/what-will-our-climate-look-2050
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