Students all over the world – but mostly in the U.S. – skipped school on a Friday in mid-March to protest global leaders’ inaction on climate change. Organizers called the event the U.S. Youth Climate Strike, though the protests began last year with a Swedish teen who eventually spoke at the UN climate summit.
In Wisconsin, protests took place at East High School in Madison and a few other locations.
The Swedish student who originally set off the string of protests, Greta Thunberg, has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. At a rally in Stockholm, she said that climate change is an “existential crisis” and that it has been “ignored for decades by those that have known about it.”
U.S. students have the most at stake in this fight, according to one young woman who participated in a Philadelphia rally.
“You know, Congress, they’re pretty much old people,” said 18-year-old Amira Ferjani. “We’re going to be here, our kids are going to be here. We want to leave a good world for them.”
The United Nations issued a report that says the world has just 11 years left to get climate change under control – and the same report says that unless we come up with new technologies to remove carbon emissions from the air, we won’t make it.
The public is becoming more alarmed about climate change, according to the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. Right now, Americans fall into these camps:
- 29% are alarmed
- 30% are concerned
- 17% are cautious
- 5% are disengaged
- 9% are doubtful
- 9% are dismissive
Part of that rising alarm is due to a series of reports warning about extreme weather and the displacement of millions of people if big changes aren’t made soon. 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record, with the only warmer years being 2015, 2016 and 2017.
And while it is true that the Earth’s climate has changed over the millennia, scientists say we’re on a path to certain destruction – and it’s not going to change unless we do.
“We’re not seeing cycles,” said climate scientist Martin Hoerling, who works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “We’re not seeing things that are going to revert back” while greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continue to increase. The climate hasn’t changed this rapidly since Earth formed.
What Do You Think?
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