The Climate Crisis: Time to Change

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The Climate Crisis: Time to Change

The author at the Boston Climate Strike on Sept. 20.

The author at the Boston Climate Strike on Sept. 20.

The author at the Boston Climate Strike on Sept. 20.

The author at the Boston Climate Strike on Sept. 20.

Rose Robinson, Editor

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Students at Climate Strike

Students at Climate Strike

Editor’s Note: On September 20, Rose Robinson ’20 and around 20 other students from the Academy attended the Boston Climate Strike.

  “For more than thirty years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying you are doing enough when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight?”

  On September 23, Greta Thunberg delivered a moving speech to world leaders at the UN Climate Summit, summarizing the findings of environmental studies, the motivation behind the recent Global Climate Strike, and the fears of an entire generation. 

  “You all come to us young people for hope. How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words, and yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing.”

  Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist, has spent her Fridays striking from school since 2018, sitting outside of her country’s parliament in demand of climate action. In doing so, she has led the way for millions of young people to do the same.

  The recent Climate Strikes are a manifestation of the anxieties of so many young people. Gathering at City Hall Plaza, eventually heading to the Statehouse, we cheered and chanted in order to be heard by the government officials around us because our concerns for our future are not being heard. This movement was created, driven, and organized by people our age in order to demonstrate that we are smart enough, mature enough, and passionate enough for our thoughts to be legitimate—perhaps more legitimate than those that have been dominated the climate conversation thus far. But older folks stood alongside young children in order to show that climate change is a multigenerational issue. It can no longer be seen as a problem to be solved by the fresh minds of tomorrow, but a crisis that must be dealt with by those in power today.

  “When I grow up, I want to be Greta Thuberg,” read a sign held by a middle-aged man standing in front of City Hall. “Climate emergency NOW,” “THE SEAS ARE RISING, SO MUST WE,” our HOME is on FIRE, read innumerable others, held above the heads of fellow strikers. Surrounding us on signs and banners were Loraxes, personified Mother Natures, and planets bursting with angry red flames. The passion in the crowd was nearly tangible. Our group exited the Government Center T-Stop to be met with the cheers of thousands and the impassioned voice of a speaker standing on the stage before them. Beginning then, for almost the entire day, I had goosebumps covering my body; the hair on the back of my neck stood straight. The energy, the raw emotion that surrounded us was indescribable—something that must be felt to be understood. Words do no justice. Photos do no justice. 

  Standing in the crowd (estimates say there were about 10,000 strikers in Boston alone), we were a part of something massive and inspiring. I was moved by the mere presence—let alone the screams, the signs, and the speeches—of these motivated, like-minded people determined to do something. Nothing is solved without action, and the fate of our planet, our children, ourselves demands action; world leaders continue to refuse to recognize this fact, to match the fervor of their young constituents, and to do what needs to get done. They are failing us. Thus, as young environmentalists, we have taken this duty into our own hands. 

  I want to push back on the words of fellow students who said you were too busy or unable to miss three classes in order to attend the strike; I want to push back on the words of faculty who were angry about students missing their classes; I want to encourage you all to open your eyes to the seriousness of what is happening. The people making decisions about our planet’s future will die of old age. As young people, we will die of climate change if their stagnancy continues. It is time to fight for our ability and our children’s ability to have long, full lives on a livable planet.

  You may say that my responsibility is to be a student, that our responsibilities are to attend classes, do homework, be present for assessments; to do anything else is a violation of those important obligations. I wish that was true, yet our responsibility to advocate for our planet and our lives has never been more important.