Daniel Kang/ BeckmanHS 11th
Young climate activists, such as Greta Thunberg and other protestors around the world, initiate changes to the environmental issues prevalent in today’s society.
“How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words!”
The 16-year-old Greta Thunberg stood in the spotlight as she spoke from her heart, deeply criticizing the political leaders all over the world for not taking action to stop the pressing issue of climate change.
She, truly, is not wrong. We need to look around the world. From the recent Amazon forest fire to plastic straws overtaking the landfills, the Earth is in dearth of hygiene; someone needs to take action before it is too late. Why do we think there is still time to revert this horrifying issue? Do we really believe that in the next 10 years, without taking action now, the Earth will somehow be purified and be healed from the damage made from the last 30 years?
The answer is no. However, the bigger question is: why are the young ones the only ones taking action? The teenagers, not the political leaders around the world, are initiating changes. They are spreading change through social media platforms and physical protests, to ultimately bring awareness to this global phenomenon. Just like Greta Thunberg, these teens are as passionate, in fact more ardent, as these so-called “global leaders”.
Last Sept. 20 of this year, students from 120 high schools and colleges marched harmonically to raise awareness to what they call an “apocalyptic” problem. These young ones genuinely were concerned for the planet’s future; they believed that this protest might make an impact, while these older generations have not even attempted to attack the obstacles.
Thunberg unquestionably is one of the most well-known youth climate activists around the world. This young girl decided to take her passion further; she traveled to the U.N. Climate Summit in a carbon-free voyage. From Plymouth, England, Thunberg rode a solar-powered yacht all the way to New York-which took 15 days-where the summit took place. Her dedication and extended efforts amazed many. Every media displayed her speech, along with its impact. Countless individuals replied in awe.
What seriously impressed the world was the content of Thunberg’s speech. She asserted that she, indeed, was one of the “lucky ones” as she has not yet been affected while people died and suffered. On top of that, she further highlighted that she did not believe that people “understand the urgency” of this global phenomenon, as no action has been taken yet.
However, the responses from well-known leaders were not positive. Actually, they were extremely immature and time-insensitive.
The president of Russia Vladimir Putin shared his criticism via his speech at the energy conference in Moscow, Russia. He explained that although Thunberg is a very “kind and sincere girl,” she did not understand the “complexities” of the world. Later that day, Thunberg responded indirectly via Twitter where she changed her biography to “[A] kind but poorly informed teenager”.
Moreover, Donald Trump, the president of the United States responded with an extremely similar reaction. It was very brief and very careless. Through Twitter once again, Trump posted: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!” Trump sarcastically mocked Thunberg’s speech, accentuating that she is still a “girl”. Once again, Thunberg responded via Twitter, changing her biography to “[A] very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future” this time.
When the young ones zealously protest to gain public attention and raise awareness, the older generations tend to become defensive, expressing that they are too young to comprehend the reality. However, that is not the case.
I applaud these teens, from Thunberg to the thousands of protestors around the globe, for their bravery and ambition. I hope that the endless passion within these young adults remain, and I also hope that in the future, these young generations will grow to replace the older generations, establishing hope for what lies ahead.
<Daniel Kang/ BeckmanHS 11th