Is climate change a youth issue, now?

Molly Begeman, Editor-in-chief

Erie, Pa, January 19, 2023 — With the recent massive fluctuation in weather across the Northeast region, from temperatures have stretched into the negatives and the mid-40s all in December.  This strange occurrence sparked the conversation of climate change, how it is affecting us, and what we can do to help.

Sadly, for most, the concern with climate change ends there—complaining how it affects the weather and then that’s it.

As adults we understand the massive issue that is climate change, and how it is our job to help stop the damage before it becomes completely irreversible.  But as adults that understand how to slow down and stop the damage from occurring, we choose to ignore that and continue going about our daily lives.

From the adults ignoring this problem, children have taken on the burden.

In a recent NPR article, they provide a kids guide to climate change with a comic strip to make it easier to understand.  This isn’t a problem that we should be forcing children to understand—since adults understand it well and choose to be unbothered by it.

Adults have, in my opinion have done the bare minimum to dealing with climate change and trying to leave the world better for the coming generations.

The largest move of becoming more aware of the declining climate change and attempting to restore and fix what we can has been the Paris Climate Agreement during Barack Obama’s presidency.  This held countries accountable to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to provide funding for developing countries to alleviate climate change, and these countries will be reviewed on their efforts every five years.

This was a huge step for the United States to becoming more aware of the issue at hand, and how they have a role to play in attempting to change and influencing others to change.

Although the Paris Climate Agreement was a huge step in the right direction, not many steps of that magnitude have been made since.

Smaller corporations, groups and individuals have been taking steps forward in order to amend this issue—but it takes all of us, working together to truly make a difference.

The only group that is working together to truly make a difference though is the youth.

A middle school class in Brooklyn spend their class time learning about how climate change is affecting their school and their playground.  These middle school students take a look at how rising temperatures rapidly heat up and affect their own playground, along with exploring different ways to help cool down the playground.

These are middle school students, who have to take on the burden of finding ways to decrease the surface temperature of the places that they play.  They are children trying to solve, not only their own issues but issues around the world.

This middle school class isn’t the only group in school to be taking on the burden of trying to find solutions to living with climate change.

A high school group in Colorado , is taking on their share of the burden by trying to find solutions to living with climate change.  These high schoolers are outlining plans, presenting a public forum, and getting policies passed.

All of these groups are students. Not even eighteen and tackling one of the biggest issues of today. They take on these issues, because they look to the adults, and they aren’t doing much.

Adults are fully aware of the crises that is climate change, but we leave the burden to school aged children.

Having adults take on more of the burden collectively will only be positive for the world around us.  So, lets collectively take more action and share the burden evenly.