Marin Voice: Caring about climate change key for county’s teens, young adults – Marin Independent Journal
Spring is a beautiful time not to care about climate change in California. By late March, the mountains have turned green again, pink flowers are everywhere and benevolent winds blow easy temperatures across the valleys and striking coastlines of the state.
Living in those conditions, it is hard to remember that global warming exists, or that California is suffering from one of the largest droughts in history, or that not just four months earlier wildfires ripped across the mountains. In just three months, they are likely to return.
It is even more difficult to care about climate change as teenagers living in Marin County, where academic competition is fierce, social life is uncomfortable and college admissions can feel like the end of the world. In marin there seems to be a lack of regard, care and awareness when it comes to climate change.
This mindset is harmful and needs to change. Despite what our beautiful natural environment might suggest, climate change does exist (even in Marin) and deserves our attention.
Our Earth is warming at an alarming speed. It will bring about catastrophic changes to its natural systems if temperatures continue to rise. Climate change has been the key factor driving wildfires across the globe and will only lead to more devastating fire seasons. Global warming is here to stay and while these facts should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind, for many young adults and teens in Marin, this is simply not the case.
As much as we (students) would like to believe the contrary, our lives are going to be different than our parents. As responsible members of our generation, we must have conservations with our friends about climate change, take environmental science classes and become involved with climate organizations such as Sustainable Marin or Resilient Neighborhoods.
While it is true that it should be the responsibility of the large corporations who brought about this ecological disaster in the first place, teens and young adults have incredible power to bring about real change as well.
We have examples. Greta Thunberg is an 18-year-old climate activist who has organized worldwide climate protests. Alexandria Villaseñor is the 14-year-old founder of Earth Uprising, an organization dedicated to fighting climate change. These teenagers have dedicated parts of their lives to enacting real change.
I am not asking young people to put their lives on hold to come up with the solution to global warming, I simply want all to become more involved. We should notice how much plastic we go through every day and see if we can reduce that amount. We should understand that the California wildfires are a result of climate change and are only going to get worse.
College students should try to incorporate sustainability into their experience in some manner. High school is an especially great time to become involved in climate change because there are so many climate related activities to explore in college and beyond. Under the Biden Administration, for example, more and more jobs are being created related to climate action at a creation rate six times that of the oil industry. If the morality behind becoming involved in climate activism isn’t incentive enough, let the occupational opportunity be.
Climate action does not need to be daunting, disheartening and all-consuming. It can simply become a norm, an unlocked subconscious and even an exciting opportunity to involve ourselves in a matter that does not just involve your own concerns.
In Marin, we live in a beautiful valley of nature. Our mountains, headlands, forests and oceans are idyllic. Frankly, they are so beautiful it is hard to imagine that anything is out of equilibrium in this world. But climate change is real, happening and deserves our attention.
Therefore, I am asking for more young people to care, act and become involved. Not only when the skies turn apocalyptic or drought mandates interrupt your lifestyle, but when the mountains are green, temperatures are cool, and life seems perfect- only then might our world and future really have a chance at beating this thing.
Annelie Miller, of Mill Valley, is a student at Cornell University in New York.