As many of you know, an Iranian oil tanker collided with a Chinese freight ship off the Eastern Chinese Coast on January 10th. The ship, which was carrying $60 million of condensate, is currently in flames and experts expect it could burn for up to a month. Authorities worry that the longer the ship burns the likelihood of an oil leak increases. The greatest threat to marine life is the bunker fuel which even in small volumes can endanger our ocean and its inhabitants. This possibility coupled with the persistent fumes could result in one of the worst attacks on our environment in recent memory. This environmental tragedy comes amid other major setbacks in 2017, such as the United State’s departure from the Paris Agreement and a rise in Carbon Emissions after a three year lull.
But what does the future generation think about climate change and more importantly, what do they plan to do about it. There is not doubt among the majority of young people that climate change is real. But not just that they also believe that it is one of the greatest challenges that humanity will ever face and that we have to face it now. A lot of them feel that governments in countries such as China and America need to step up and take greater action, but they also recognise that global warming is not just taking place on a governmental level but rather everyone needs to take action and accept responsibility.
There is also a feeling of anger among young people, firstly because we let it reach this point and secondly, because it feels as though very little is being done. One of my friends paraphrased Einstein when she said that climate change “proves that human stupidity is infinite”. We just can’t seem to grasp that if we let this continue we will all die, we have to understand that there are no two ways about it, and, no, Mars is not a suitable back-up plan.
I also observed a feeling of hopelessness among teenagers, they feel almost overwhelmed. The issue is so huge that it can seem difficult to make a difference as one person but they are encouraged by countries taking initiative and by other young people fighting for climate justice.
I think it’s pretty clear that there is a growing passion about the environment among young people but the results of their passion may never come to fruition. Climate change is a problem for now not the future. This issue affects everyone, especially the vulnerable and we must do everything in our power to tackle it today. Whether we do that by using a reusable coffee cup or calling you TD to urge them to take action through green legislation, no act is too small or too big.