Are youth changing climate change?

Lindsay Greenspan, Staff Writer

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Sea levels are rising, the tenure of droughts are lengthening, and temperatures are soaring. These are all effects of climate change that have sharply increased since the Industrial Revolution. The topic of climate change is one that has been debated on the political stage for many years, shaping voter opinions, political platforms, and even bringing us the Green Party. However, recently, youth have become passionate about this issue. From creating and participating in school clubs, to taking part in climate change strikes and walks, youth are making it clear that this is an issue that concerns us all.

 

One student in particular has taken great bounds in raising awareness of the need for climate change activism. Greta Thunberg, a sixteen year-old from Sweden, has become an influential figure and role-model since beginning her school strikes outside of the Swedish parliament in late 2018. Thunberg now leads global strikes and speeches, encouraging government officials around the world to change policies surrounding climate change. Her forthright speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit gained global traction on news outlets and social media, and she is now favored to win the next Nobel Peace Prize.

Image result for school strike for climate greta
                                                                             Photo courtesy of: The Guardian

The Sunrise Movement is a student-led movement founded in 2017 with a goal of preventing the continuation of climate change by leading speeches, marches, and appealing to government officials. Movements like these are creating extensive and thorough plans like the Green New Deal, to battle climate change. This ten year plan is intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to slow down the rapid progression of the climate change crisis. This plan has already been backed by several democratic presidential candidates.

 

Students at Oakton are concerned as well. Ava Liberace, a sophomore and member of the Oakton Environmentalist Club, was asked to share her views on youth climate change activism. When asked if youth have become more environmentally conscious, she states, “There are very significant movements led by students, who are making an incredible difference, so I think that it ultimately creates awareness that reaches every population.”

 

Although these movements are making an impact, Liberace does not believe that the general student population is taking large enough strides towards sustainability. However, Liberace and other students in the Environmentalist Club like her are doing what they can to make an impact. The Oakton Environmentalist Club learns about current environmental issues, that affect the local community. They also volunteer and teach others about these important issues.

 

One of the most dangerous factors of climate change is that the general population doesn’t realize that the change will affect us all, and once they happen, there is no going back. If climate change continues to increase at its given rate, the average temperature has the potential to increase by approximately four degrees Celsius by 2050. This will change weather patterns across the globe, and most people are completely unaware of these statistics. “The ability to be aware of these issues is something that I hold to great value,” says Liberace. Students have the ability to take action, and help find an end to climate change.

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