Let’s face it: our older generations have screwed us over. While our generation isn’t the main contributor to climate change, it’s up to us to fix it. Despite how daunting solving our changing climate will be, we only have a short period of time to fix it before it’s too late. If we decide not to make serious changes now, our planet will be in ruins before we’re barely adults.
The U.S. Global Change Research Program published its fourth national climate assessment last month. The report found that without any future change, the Midwest will experience increasing temperatures and more extreme weather conditions such as droughts and flooding.
While these conditions may seem far away or insignificant, they could have detrimental effects on livestock and crop production, leading to food shortages and economic hardship that could happen right in our area. These conditions would have catastrophic effects on our Kansas GDP, and could leave us in Johnson County facing food shortages. Even though farming seems distant from the typical Johnson County white-collar lifestyle, we won’t be immune to the same struggles the farmers face.
This future climate could cause billions of dollars lost in the U.S. economy and millions of deaths around the globe. At this point, it’s not enough to debate about whether or not climate change exists. There are many more studies proving it exists than those that deny it. Countless studies emphasize its serious effects, and it’s up to us to take the proper steps to alleviate its devastation.
The Express conducted a survey in November to get students’ opinions about climate change and how much they care about it. Eighty-four percent of BVNW students said they believe climate change is happening. Yet when looking at the importance of climate change now, only 68 percent of students find it an important issue to some degree.
With the earliest scientific reports saying that we only have about 15 years to make serious changes before our climate is irreversible, 100 percent of students need to find this issue important.
Northwest meteorology teacher Sarah Derks acknowledged that it’s harmful when people deny climate change.
“It’s disheartening as a person of science to see the denial of science and the denial of clear evidence pointing us in a direction of destruction,” Derks said. “The biggest piece is just filling yourself with knowledge as to what climate change truly is, what it isn’t and how it will affect you.”
While it’s imperative that we demand our politicians enact eco-friendly policies and legislation, we can’t just point fingers. We must also be committed to making sacrifices in our day-to-day routines, whether that be through reducing plastic use, switching to greener energy or incorporating less meat into our diets.
The Blue Valley School District is known as a leader and gold-standard for education, so they should be leading the country in more environmentally-friendly resources. They need to continue to invest in green energy and recycled materials like grey water for bathrooms and more plant-based meals in the cafeteria. Our district emphasizes how students should be put first, so having the most sustainable resources is imperative for them to show their commitment to our future.
We may be young and inexperienced, but this doesn’t take away from the fact that this is our future and we need to take action now. If we do not start caring about our climate and encourage others to do the same, it will be far too late for us to be able to fix it. We can’t listen to our parents or older generations that have greater interests in economic gain than our future.
Our community, district and parents always say they want what’s best for kids. What’s best for us is a livable and sustainable planet.