Climate activism spreads to CG

Nik Pusic, Staff Writer

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A few months ago, on September 20, the first-ever “Climate Strike” sent tens of thousands of students all around the world out of their classrooms and into the streets to raise awareness of the issues of climate change and, most importantly, our future.

While we didn’t have any significant participation in the strike here, many students at Cary-Grove are becoming more familiar with the actual concept of climate change and the effects it could have in our lifetimes. This didn’t come without years of confusion and just lack of knowledge of the topic, however.

If you were to compare how much students knew about the issue of climate change today to even five years ago, you would think we were back decades ago. Many knew about climate change and global warming, but in all honesty didn’t care or didn’t think there was a reason to care. 

That’s the past, though, and in just the past few years we have been seeing dramatic violent weather events. Though we in Cary aren’t on the front line of global warming, it’s hard to turn on the T.V. and not see something about some powerful weather system. Whether it’s a Category 5 hurricane making landfall in Florida or a brutal wildfire in California, the danger is real and the culprit of this mess is global warming.

Now we are seeing students in CG actually taking a stand and raising awareness both in and out of the classroom. Especially since the issue of global warming and climate change started becoming more mainstream over this decade, many are using their voices in a unique way.

Though they’re not walking out of the classroom and into the streets screaming and yelling, more and more are saying “enough” by standing up with a new type of activism: digital activism.

“Lots of people share posts about climate change on their stories to raise awareness on Instagram, and I often see them daily,” freshman Kelsey Harmsen said.

It’s hard to find somebody in high school who doesn’t have a social media account. This makes it so much easier for people to get their message out to their whole audience. All of this helps spread a message, and it’s usually contagious. 

 People who see a post about the Amazon rainforest fire might repost it because they see something so alarming happening and see it as something threatening to themselves and others.

“I have posted about climate change and global warming-related topics on social media,” freshman Isabelle Ramirez said. “I posted them for many reasons, one of them being to spread awareness as to what’s happening in our environment and to encourage action to change.”

Teenagers are growing up in such a complex time, and so many issues we are facing now are ones that need to be resolved very soon. Many prominent figures are pushing for change, one of whom is Greta Thunberg. 

Thunberg is the 17-year-old girl you might remember from that video where she is grilling the politicians and world leaders who refuse to do anything about climate change. She has made a diverse coalition of young people who travel the world advocating for a sustainable future on this planet before it’s too late.

Many scientists say that in 12 years or less, if we don’t get to net-zero carbon emissions, the effects of global warming will be irreversible. The effect of this urgent notice has led many countries, mainly developed, wealthy countries, to attempt to get to net-zero carbon levels by 2050. 

But many are skeptical if these laws are going far enough, and many are asking the question, is it too late? 

The answer is yes and no. For example, New Zealand recently passed a net-zero carbon law, setting the country on a path to net-zero carbon levels by 2050. Though it will probably be too late to reverse the effects of global warming by then, the impact can be lessened by these laws. 

Net-zero laws are put into place in hopes that a country makes sure that greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere are no more than the amount that is taken out of it. The main goal of these laws is not to stop the warming of the planet completely, but to stop the planet from warming more than 1.5 degrees by 2050, a dangerous mark projected by scientists. 

So instead of actually trying to stop emissions immediately, which would be nearly impossible, many countries like New Zealand are trying to phase out their carbon emissions.

Even though the future of this planet seems scary and unknown, there are things you can do. Educating a friend about what they can do to limit their carbon footprint, sharing a link with your siblings about global warming, or even just turning off the lights when leaving a room can all have a positive effect. 

So yes, the future is scary and unknown, but nothing is going to change if you just sit around, so do something about it.