Diehard fans of NBC sitcom “The Office” may recognize this Michael Scott quote. The funny thing is, this season of The Office aired in 2009, which was a decade ago, but the issue of climate change has only gotten more serious as time as gone on. In fact, come December of this year, the United Nations will host its 25th Climate Change Conference. According to NASA’s article “Climate Change: How Do We Know,” it’s no secret that the Earth has gone through several cycles of warming and cooling. However, this cycle is significant because it is extremely likely that it is caused by human activity at an unprecedented rate.
Greta Thunberg is a Generation Z activist that has been at the forefront of the climate change conversation. This 16 year old Sweden native was even given a spot on the UN Climate Action Summit, alongside two other young activists last week in New York. Thunberg first learned of climate change at eight years old, according to Business Insider. To her, the lack of action of the part of adults was puzzling. Her activism truly began in May 2018 when she won a competition for a climate-change essay. This led to her School Strike for Climate Change and then eventually to her first protest, all within six months.
Her School Strike for Climate Change encouraged young people all over the globe to leave classes to demand better climate policies. More than 123 countries had youth participate in this event. Since the fruition of this event, Thunberg has gone on to cement her status as an activist. She even brie y spoke with Pope Francis who gave her words of encouragement to continue working.
Thunberg is not alone in her fight for better climate change policies worldwide. Another noteworthy activist from our side of the hemisphere is Isra Hirsi. Yet another 16-year-old activist, Hirsi is the daughter of congress woman Ilhan Omar. Hirsi is particularly interested in how climate change disproportionately effects people of color, according to a Grist article from March 2019. A quick Google search on the effects of climate change of people of color leads to an article from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People titled Environmental and Climate Justice.
This article discusses the different ways groups
are negatively affected by climate change and
environmental injustice. “Race… is the number
one indicator for the placement of toxic facilities
in this country. And communities of color and
low-income communities are often the hardest hit by climate change,” Generation Z and Millenials are altering their lifestyles in light of climate change science. Some are refusing to y in planes, and instead opt for public transportation or even boats to cross oceans. USA Today published an article highlighting a Canadian teen’s pledge to not have kids until governments take action against climate change. Titled #NoFutureNoChildren, young people across the globe have signed this pledge.
Almost 5,000 people signed since its inception. The fight against climate change is not just plastic straws and bags. Youth and young adults are changing their lives and it’s up to world leaders to follow suit.