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March 6th of this year I turned 27, I pay my own bills, and I have two kids. I am, by definition, an adult. So are many people who are now weighing in on hundreds of teenagers throughout several countries who staged a walkout this week against climate change.
The news coverage was quick to announce the walkouts days before and the day of—all inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg's weekly protests and speeches.
Watching Greta's speech at the UN for climate change, I am in awe at the work she is putting together at her age. The comments on the news coverage, and even some of the news reports, are disappointing to say the least.
Teens are being accused of using it as a excuse to "skip school," "they aren't being respectful," and "they don't understand what a world without fossil fuels would be like." The list goes on.
I want to know how many adults are stopping to think about the fact that these teenagers took the time to organize walkouts for a cause and not just any walkout, though—not just any walkout, because this wasn't in a school district, not in a city, not in a state, but all over the world.
An organized walkout for the same cause at a young age, backed with information and research for why, is pretty outstanding. Doing so on a large scale is impressive. Getting over two countries and more than 200 schools to participate is incredible and deserves attention.
These teenagers are kids still, but they are also our future. While they may not be adults yet, they will be soon. The choices that we are making today, they will affect them more than they affect us now.
They are the generation that will live with the consequences of high CO2 in the air, rising sea levels, and the melting ice that's causing it.
They are the ones who will only be able to see many species in a book or on a computer screen. They are the ones that will have to explain to their children why there's no longer arctic ice or animals. Why the sea is full of plastic and toxins, and not fish and marine creatures. Why the air is hard to breathe and sometimes makes you sick.
Teenagers aren't asking for you to stop use of fossil fuels right this second. They are asking you to pay attention to who is dedicated to keeping our water safe to drink, our air safe to breathe, and our ecosystem healthy and thriving. They are asking you to vote for people who will use their power and influence for good. To create a change in a failing system and ecosystem.
The importance of recycling and green energy have somehow gotten lost over the years. When you look at statistical data from NASA, you can easily see how we have continuously gone up in CO2, and even breached an amount we have never breached before; while our ocean levels rise in both volume and temperature, our ice melts. Creating a domino effect. Ice melts, marine and animal life die, sea levels rise, and cities flood.
It's sad to think that sometimes Hollywood movies pay more attention than real living breathing people do.
No one is saying it will always be easy. No one is saying we can fix everything overnight.
We can, however, continue to strive to fund more research, invest in cleaner energy, and start implementing it into our daily lives.
A great innovation that should really be getting more attention, especially from investors, is algae fuel. And while those who don't take climate change seriously will laugh at that sentence, algae fuel is something that could easily change the fossil fuel industry, which right now as it stands makes a lot of people within our government nervous because they get a lot of donations from people within the fossil fuel industry.
You can find out more about algae fuel and Global Algae Innovations here.
A great example of this protest is that right now President Trump is attempting to sell arctic land to an oil company for drilling. The same land that has been protected for over 60 years. The land that is nearly impossible to clean if a spill should happen. Which let's face it, when it comes to drilling and oil lines, it's not if, it's when. The 14-year oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico still isn't cleaned up or recovered.
The pipeline drew national attention—carrying tar sand oil during the Obama Administration, during which President Obama did temporarily halt the project—has leaked a total of 5,375 gallons of oil into the Earth in two years.
Similar events happen in other pipelines.
In Pennsylvania, construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline, which is owned by Energy Transfer Partners via its subsidiary Sunoco, was shut down by regulators after Sunoco repeatedly drilled under waterways without permits. The 350-mile pipeline would carry ethane, butane, and propane from the Marcellus Shale fracking area to an export facility near Philadelphia. Pennsylvania regulators documented more than 100 spills of drilling fluid, ranging in size from one gallon to 160,000 gallons, entering creeks, lakes, wetlands, and fields since May. In at least two separate incidents, the fluid entered private wells, clouding drinking water and requiring locals to switch to Sunoco-provided bottled water.
Incidences along pipelines like this aren't new, they are common, and while hauling oil and risking spills isn't much better, asking for alternatives when they exist, and funding research for them instead of pouring money into a existing resource that will someday run out, makes a lot more sense. Especially if it helps makes us and the planet healthier.
Overall, I hope that anyone reading this realizes that changes are needed, and if you agree with the teenagers, good on you. And if you began this article thinking that they are dumb teens who wanted to skip school, then I hope, even if your opinion hasn't changed, that you consider some of the things brought up in this article. That you do your own research and start implementing changes into your life that help both the human race as a whole, the planet, the ecosystem, and perhaps, someday realize that these teenagers... they just want to help create a better world.
I'm proud of them. I'm proud of the future generation and I'm proud to be helping raise a part of it.
To the teens who participated, keep on fighting for change and a healthier planet. Good job and keep up the hard work!