What will it take for us to start caring about climate change?

Gulliver+students+Laura+Attarian%2C+Ashley+Ubalijoro%2C+Alessia+Bianco%2C+and+Pedro+Schmeil+participate+in+the+September+Fridays+for+Future+climate+strike.

Gulliver students Laura Attarian, Ashley Ubalijoro, Alessia Bianco, and Pedro Schmeil participate in the September Fridays for Future climate strike.

Laura Attarian, Managing Editor

Recently I attended to my third climate strike. Each time chanting the same things along with my friends and fellow protestors, fighting for the same cause with little to no progress. We want the government and people to start caring about our future and take  action towards a healthier environment. I continue to hear chants like “no more coal, no more oil, keep your carbon in the soil,” or “we don’t want your false solutions, we are sick of your pollution.” But how seriously are we taking these chants? Not seriously enough because nothing has changed. 

The recent climate strikes have made it clear that people are fed up with weak government action regarding climate change. But how much do they really care about their personal contribution to the problem? I’ll admit, I like everyone else, am a hypocrite. 

 I still eat meat regardless of knowing that 80% of my carbon footprint is stemmed from my animal product consumption. My most dedicated environmentalist friends will opt for a single-use plastic container in the supermarket due to convenience and will drive their car home even though they live walking or biking distance away. We all do things like these, yet we claim we fight for the environment. So what will it really take for us to put words into actions and make a real change? 

I realized this was a real problem when my friends and I agreed to have lunch at Five Guys after the strike. We each ordered a burger and a drink in a single-use plastic cup. I looked around and noticed the irony of the situation. We are our own enemies to the cause.

Students gather at a climate strike in Miami Beach. Where schools from all over the county peacefully protested. Leaders also delivered inspiring speeches advocating for change.

Granted, most of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can be traced back to large corporations, but we are also responsible for a fair share of it. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 22% of greenhouse gas emissions come from industries that burn fossil fuels for energy, 12% comes from commercial and resident uses such as for cooking needs, 9% come from the agricultural industry, 29% comes from transportation, and 28% comes from electricity. 

With 7.7 billion people on Earth, we can no longer afford the privileged lifestyle we currently maintain and we must convert to sustainable alternatives to ultimately save both ourselves and the Earth. If these cold-hard scientific facts say that we only have 11 years until the damage is irreversible, and all these strikes don’t seem to be triggering any action, then what will?

I’ve pondered on this question for days, and I have reached two conclusions. The first is that the people in a higher socio-economic class, have yet to suffer the consequences of climate change and therefore have not taken this crisis to the level of severity it should. We, being privileged,  are the people that can afford to live on sustainable alternatives, but our privilege has undermined the crisis. For example, the people of Mozambique have been hit with multiple cyclones this year and will be unable to recuperate for another decade. These cyclones have direct ties to climate change and, until third-world issues begin to directly impact us, we will not care. Climate change seems like a victimless catastrophe right now, but if we don’t take action soon, we will begin to suffer irreversible consequences.

The second answer to the question is that I believe we feel a sense of morality when we attend these strikes. By protesting, our minds are convinced that we are already doing something good for the environment. But protesting and striking will lead to nothing but awareness. While I do believe the government plays a cruicial part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, I also believe that so do we. Change starts with the individual and until we actually take action, instead of simply marching, nothing will happen. This applys to me aswell.