Commentary: Grim realities of climate change aren't sparking outrage
The following commentary was submitted by a reader for the Opinion page and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.
I recently read a novel and my takeaway quote was, “Hope is a burden too big to bear.” I’ve thought on that quote for a weeks. Is hope a burden? Can I bear to have hope? When put in the context of our climate crisis, I feel beyond hope. Stark predications and copious amounts of scientific findings and yet what has the world really done? Drastic actions are proposed but we are still talking about compostable cups and reusable straws.
My commentary is not intended to regurgitate facts and figures. The grim realities are not sparking outrage and action. In fact, today environmental protections are being repealed to protect wealth and power. Wealth can’t buy health. At days end it can’t buy air to breath or water to drink. We will all wither.
Greta Thunberg said in her speech to the United Nations in 2019, “This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet, you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!”
You are right, Greta. It’s not fair to place the burden of hope on our youth.
Thunberg branded the COP26 summit in Glasgow a “global north greenwash.” She said, "It is not a secret that COP26 is a failure. It should be obvious that we cannot solve a crisis with the same methods that got us into it in the first place. We need immediate drastic annual emission cuts unlike anything the world has ever seen. The people in power can continue to live in their bubble filled with their fantasies, like eternal growth on a finite planet and technological solutions that will suddenly appear seemingly out of nowhere and will erase all of these crises just like that.” Thousands of youth activists marched.
You are right, Greta. We cannot place hope in the hands of our world leaders. Yet in 2022 you inspired youth with this message at the Glastonbury Festival: "We are capable of the most incredible things," she said. "Once we are given the full story… we will know what to do. There is still time to choose a new path, to step back from the cliff. Instead of looking for hope, start creating that hope yourself.”
That happened in the recent midterm elections. An estimated 27% of US aged 18 to 29 voted. That makes it the second-highest youth turnout in any midterm vote.
Hope is not a burden too big to bear when we have the voice of all generations speaking up with their vote. Climate activists of all ages agree. “The eyes of all future generations are upon you and if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up and change is coming, whether you like it or not.” (Thunberg)