Climate change is the most pressing issue of our time, maybe even the most pressing issue in humanity’s history. Two degrees of an increase in human body temperature can prove fatal, and similarly two degrees of an increase in the planet’s temperature, which is very likely to occur due to our CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels, will prove catastrophic. Scientists believe that we have to drastically reduce our emissions in the very near future if we are to prevent the worst effects of climate change.
The climate crisis
A panel of scientists called the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) produced a report last year which gave us 12 years (until 2030) to reduce our emissions by 50%. Unfortunately, the Irish government is not on track for this drastic change, and no amount of individual action will be able to counteract the fact that 71% of global emissions come from no more than 100 companies.
In order for us to solve the climate crisis, our government must take immediate radical action on both a legislative and an infrastructural level.
Last year, a fifteen year old Swedish girl called Greta Thunberg, seeing that her government was refusing to take the necessary action on climate change, decided to do something about it. She began to strike from school every Friday and demonstrate in front of the Swedish parliament. As one person alone, at first she didn’t accomplish much. But her brave actions have inspired hundreds of thousands of students around the world to join her, and in direct response to her protest the EU increased its climate action spending to 25% of the EU budget just last month. Greta has proven that together we are strong, and has shown that brave action can make a difference.
Throughout the world, every Friday tens of thousands of students have been striking from school in over sixty countries. Together, we are a unified global voice for the youth, and we are shouting at our leaders so that they can hear us. It is vital that we take action now to transform our society from one which relies on fossil fuels to one which is completely carbon neutral. For this to happen, our government will need to start taking climate change seriously, and for that to happen, they will need to know that we, the youth, care.
Looking out for our future
By striking we are demanding that our government does the job that it was elected to do – to lead our country. We are demanding that immediate radical action be taken, so that our future may be safeguarded. By striking, we send a powerful message to our leaders. In the words of Greta Thunberg, “Our education is worthless if we do not have a future.”