Since the end of the Industrial Revolution, the rate of the Earth’s ever increasing surface temperature has doubled. Centuries of architectural development, battles for oil and fuel, and human activity have done irreparable damage to this planet. Humans have seen (and will continue to see) record- breaking rates of hurricanes, typhoons, and wildfires. Along with changes in weather patterns, humans will also see key species to the ecosystem go extinct. In a statement from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the human population needs to immediately change the way it collects energy, or risk staring Armageddon in the face.
This is not the first time such dire statements (or warnings) were made to the public. Y2K and the year 2012 are all examples of compelling predictions where society was expected to collapse. At first, the general public’s reaction was that of mass hysteria. It is what would be expected of humans. People were looking at a black hole of uncertainty and expected to dive in head first. But the UN statement is not a prediction, it is a science and we should be listening. But it appears that we are not.
The public’s reaction to these warnings has become more and more desensitized the more often they occur. This insensitivity is in tune with the social culture of Generation Z, a gang of pessimistic activists. It is easy for this group to feel a familiar sense of detached disappointment when reading the news. People in general are overexposed to information, which makes it difficult to discern what is valid and what’s not. This can turn dangerous when concerning large scale issues such as climate change. Canada is one of few countries in the world where the government is actively trying to raise awareness of the state of the planet. All of this excess content can appear overwhelming, leaving many scrambling to figure out what is impactful and what is not.
Teenagers are among those who are impacted by climate change. They are the next generation (carrying the weight of many more), and how they choose to live their lives will create a world of difference. In whatever shape or form, activism creates a lasting impact.
Out of all of the things that this generation has done in their lifetime, the case of 21 young Americans suing their government over inactivity to prevent climate change certainly stands out. Known as Juliana vs. the United States, this group’s case asserts the facts that through the government’s inaction, climate change and its effects are violating the youngest generation’s Constitutional rights. The case was set to go to trial on October 29 2018, though the government filed a temporary stay, halting any further legal actions.
Similar actions have occurred in Colombia, where 25 young people sued their government and successfully gained more rights for the Amazon rainforest. The triumph of this lawsuit provides a solid foundation for other climate change legal action to occur. It’s hopefully only a matter of time before other countries follow in accordance.
Earth has faced a barrage of events in the last 50 years. Now, it appears as if humans are headed on a collision course that might end in chaos. What lies ahead is unknown. But, rest assured, the youth will make sure that the notion of “teenagers don’t care about anything but themselves” suffers defeat.