Climate change is real, the effects are tangible and disastrous, and time is running out if we want to reverse our impact on the environment.
The fact that many educated adults in Canada would try to argue with or deny the above fact is ridiculous to me. Even more ridiculous is the fact that we’ve left it to the children of this nation to champion this cause. Somehow, we’ve come to the point where individuals who do not yet have a voice in our democracy are literally begging and protesting for our governments to take climate action.
While many have been calling out some of the comments, facts and data Swedish teen environmental activist Greta Thunberg has been sharing, she is certainly right about one thing – we should be ashamed.
We should be ashamed that any conversation about climate action by individuals, businesses and the government is usually met with outrage, denial and ridicule. We should be ashamed that we seem to care more about a thriving economy than a thriving planet.
Yes, the oil and gas industry is an integral part of our economy and daily lives, but it is time for us to begin shifting our reliance on it to more sustainable energy sources. This doesn’t mean turning off the taps right away but recognizing that as more research and funding is directed to other energy resources, we need to be prepared to adapt.
After all, like one of the Penticton students’ sign so aptly said at the Sept. 27 climate strike, the climate is changing so why aren’t we? Why are we not putting more regulations on businesses to reduce their plastic packaging? Why have cities and governments not yet banned single-use plastics? Why aren’t more individuals and families taking advantage of municipal recycling and compost programs? These are just a few examples that would make a world of difference.
In fact, the ways we can reduce our impact are endless, and this will look different for each person and on each level. Maybe you’ve recently purchased a bicycle for commuting, or are trying to reduce your meat intake due to the emissions produced by the agricultural industry, or you’ve stopped buying certain items due to their packaging. All of these changes are needed and have an impact, the point is that everyone needs to partake.
Simply choosing to deny science and cling to your old routines and ways is not helping anyone, yourself included. Going online and trolling and insulting a teenager for championing a global movement is not helping anyone. Sharing fake news articles to promote your viewpoint without taking the time to fact-check your source is not helping anyone.
Do you know what is helping? Youth and adults attending climate strike protests to raise awareness and advocate for policy change. The people who are helping are those who take the time to see the impact they have on the environment around them and adjust accordingly. The businesses and governments that are helping are the ones not worried about making a profit, and that recognize that “going green” may not be cheap but it is the right thing to do.
So it’s time for climate change deniers to give their heads a shake and wake up, I’m just saying.
Jordyn Thomson is a reporter with the Western News