To the Editor:
I am a high school climate activist in Ashland, and was the lead organizer of the Climate Strike there (Minocqua) on Sept. 20. The following Letter to the Editor answers the questions of why and how people should fight the climate crisis.
Eleven years from now, I will be 29. Eleven years from now, I will have graduated college and begun my career. Eleven years from now I will be starting a family, and be considering whether it’s responsible to bring another child into our deteriorating world. Eleven years from now, we will see an increase in heatwaves, flooding, wildfires, hurricanes, and other extreme weather events. Eleven years from now I expect to see economic hardship, food scarcity, increased immigration, and political tension brought on by climate change. Eleven years from now, the death toll of the climate crisis will be rising. Eleven years from now, the IPCC reports that the damage we’re doing to our climate will become irreversible. Unless, that is, we make some radical, systemic changes.
I’m asking you to call for this change. Educate yourself and others about the reality of the climate crisis and the concept of environmental justice, as well as policies like the Green New Deal and the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. Find out what other people in your community are doing already. Do you have a local branch of Zero Hour? Fridays for Future? 350? Are there people working on solar installation or sustainable food systems? Are you facing pollution from mining, factory farms, power plants, or pipelines? Are there ways that you could reduce barriers to voting? Donate your money or time to organizations or campaigns that have a focus on reducing emissions. Vote, contact your legislators, sign or start petitions, and write letters to the editor or op-eds.
As a member of Generation Z, I’m asking you to fight for my future, for the future of my younger brother, for the future of the children I may one day have, and for the future of those who will be harmed by the climate crisis far more than me simply due to their zip code, their income, or the color of their skin. In the words of internationally acclaimed youth climate activist Greta Thunberg, “You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.” Eleven years from now I will be 29. Eleven years from now, I want to be able to say I did all I could. Eleven years from now, I hope to live in a world that has woken up, come together, and acted in time to make things right.