Opinion | Stop pawning it off: Climate change is a problem for our generation

The+Rim+Fire+burned+more+than+250%2C000+acres+of+forest+near+Yosemite+National+Park+in+2013.+With+climate+change-related+forest+fires+on+the+rise+in+recent+years%2C+columnist+Maii+demands+immediate+action+to+save+our+planet%E2%80%99s+environmental+future.

Photo Courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture

The Rim Fire burned more than 250,000 acres of forest near Yosemite National Park in 2013. With climate change-related forest fires on the rise in recent years, columnist Maii demands immediate action to save our planet’s environmental future.

By Maii Rashed, Columnist

I’m just naturally a very stressed individual. 

Perhaps, this stemmed from my youth when my school would have “Pajama Day.” I would often worry about showing up and being the only one donning jammies. I always worried about what people thought of the things I did, thought, liked, disliked and so on. 

But as I’m getting older, the root of my high blood pressure has gone from being scared of public humiliation to being terrified of world annihilation. 

The realization that the world’s climate status is getting worse hit me at a very young age. Two of my favorite movies, “Happy Feet” and “Happy Feet 2,” had plot lines that dealt with environmental issues like pollution, overfishing and climate change. Notably so, in “Happy Feet 2,” the protagonists try to figure out how to live as the ice around them melts. Although a resolution is found at the end, as in most movies, I couldn’t help but worry that what was shown happening in Antarctica was happening all around me. 

Perhaps it was the kid in me that believed the repercussions wouldn’t happen so close to home. I’m quickly experiencing a reality check. The Dead Sea, a place I frequented as a child, and when I moved to America, a nostalgic place I visited on vacations back home, is drying out. It’s getting so dire that the war-torn countries surrounding it are attempting to work together to salvage what’s left. Those times I had as a child will likely not be experienced by my generation’s children who will be left with mere pictures. 

It’s safe to say I’m getting really worried. Of course ,some children’s movies and a few complaints haven’t been the only thing that has brought climate change to my radar. I’ve seen the documentaries, the news reports and attended some protests myself. But there’s something jarring about going from seeing something happening in distant Antarctica, to seeing the destruction inch closer and closer to my family and  me. 

It still boggles my mind how people deny the deterioration happening around them. I, myself, have fallen victim to thinking I wouldn’t see the repercussions in my lifetime, often laughing along to memes about how it’s going to be the next generation’s problem. But isn’t that what the generations before us have done? Isn’t that the type of thinking that’s going to leave this world in a mess? 

Research about living on other planets keeps surfacing, and although I fully support research into our solar system and the planets around us, I can’t help but bitterly think about what a cop-out that is. If inhabiting another planet was our only option, would we just do the same to it that we have done to Earth? 

The fires happening in Australia aren’t going to be the only thing going up in flames. It’s going to be us, our neighbors, our children. Perhaps it took an old vacation spot, a children’s movie and a 16-year-old activist to convince me this is a problem worth fighting for. 

But what will it take for the people who deny it all? The dying animals and the smell of wilderness burning up may not be enough for now. But when will we finally stop the of blind denial and take action? And even then, will it be enough?

Maii is a freshman in LAS.

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