Environment Opinion

Time to end the climate of ignorance and apathy

A classic view in Southport Island, Maine. (Sean Monteith/YJI)

Lewiston, Maine, U.S.A. – To protest climate change, the message must be for real change in our society.
As we enter into the next decade, we young people must not stay complacent as our parents did.
Those who were born during what is the so-called “baby boomer” generation are the ones who helped mess up the world we live in today.
We must look and learn from their inaction. Our generation cannot sit idle when it comes to the fate of our only home – Earth.
Temperatures have been rising since the Industrial Revolution and that has to end.
The only true way to slow down and remedy climate change is by turning the tap of oil and fossil fuels off forever. The era of petroleum must die – today, not tomorrow.
Those who profit off of our suffering must be held accountable for their crimes against the Earth. This is the only home that humans, and countless other lifeforms on land and sea, have.
Life as we know it has only evolved to live on one planet. There is no other planet for us. A manmade extinction of life on Earth is preventable with a policy that will protect the future of our planet.
But first, we must change our society and change who has the power to make the decisions. The wealthy and powerful are a few who make the decisions for the many which are why we are where we are today.
No longer should “big money” create a candidate for any elected office. I will not stay silent or simply say, “Both sides are to blame” because that is simply not the truth.
The blatant ignorance of conservatives around the world is to blame.
In America, they call themselves the Republican Party and they are responsible for the country taking no action toward mitigating climate change. They have been bought by big oil and other powerful corporations who put conservatives in office to make certain oil sales will not be hindered.
The right wing’s propaganda media arm, Fox News, has quite successfully helped hijack the minds of millions of Americans. Fox News has convinced many that Republicans are the party of the working white man, when it is anything but that. How is a small group making profits off oil at the expense of a life-sustaining climate in the interest of the working class?
Complacent citizens make up the largest non-political party – those who do not vote. This works to the advantage of the rich and powerful.
A large segment of the American population feels alienated or simply does not care about democracy and voting. This uninformed populace does not know what is bad or what is good. Meanwhile, the people behind the scenes pulling the strings of government are able to chip away the rights of individuals and enact policies that benefit corporations and the rich over ordinary people.
It will be a challenge, but we must motivate those who are feeling alienated to vote.
It’s time for elected officials to enact the Green New Deal, which is only the start toward the Green Revolution. Investing in coal power plants, in natural gas, in oil platforms off our coasts, and oil derricks on our open plains is no longer a viable investment for the future.
Building wind farms and geothermal plants are the future – not just for jobs but for clean renewable energy that will protect our world.
We must take on our responsibility as stewards of the Earth and protect it from our own ignorance.
We must invest in public education, starting at universal child care and continuing through a universal public college program. Education is the foundation of an informed electorate that will change society for the better, to put power in the hands of those who are interested in a healthy planet.
Nearly all scientists agree that climate change is human-caused. Yet the Trump administration is not addressing the problem and in many instances, doing the opposite of what is needed. The easing of rules regarding carbon dioxide emissions and the opening of public lands and marine sanctuaries for drilling are a couple examples.
Thankfully in the last election, Americans took a step towards the ‘left’ direction with the Democratic takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives. Now with more checks and balances in place, Congress should be better able to act.
But we still have a lot of hard work left to do. We need to elect Democratic governors and gain Democratic control of statehouses across the country. America must send more Democrats to gain control of the U.S. Senate and take back the White House.
The world does not need America, but America needs the rest of the world. We as Americans need to look toward what we want our tomorrow to look like.
We have a choice, and this choice cannot be decided by flipping a coin. If Republicans stay in charge, there will be no real change.
Our other choice is to continue moving left, joining the party of action or real change. We must get out and vote for our future leaders, no matter what position they are running for, to help enact the changes needed to slow down climate change.
This is our point in time to choose between complacency and action. Today we must begin the journey toward protecting our only home and making a better world in the process.
Now is not too late, but tomorrow will be.
Sean Monteith is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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