On Friday, March 15, thousands of students around the world walked out of school and demonstrated against the lack of climate related action from leaders. The students were led by youth climate action leaders; most notably, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg from Sweden. Last Friday saw 1.5 million students out protesting, many expressing the fear they experience daily about the state of the planet.
In California, students spoke out about the intensifying wildfires through the state. In South Korea, students spoke out about difficulty breathing due to increased air pollution. In the United Kingdom, students wrote a letter to the British government asking for climate change to be added to the curriculum and to declare climate change a national emergency.
Young people are fed up with governments making decisions for the future to be completed in the future. Legislation stating that by this so-called date, the country will be at such and such percentage renewable energy or this percentage zero waste. Yet, most of the legislation has little accountability and does not always lead to comprehensive results. It is time for true legislation aimed not only at consumers or companies, but squarely at everyone, with the intent to cause noticeable and immediate change.
The Green New Deal must call for immediate change. If our local politicians are truly listening, then the legislation should reflect the growing number of protests and calls for climate action. Currently, even with all the coverage of The Green New Deal, not all the details have been worked out. The Green New Deal hopes to change the economy by putting large investments into new infrastructure and renewable energy sectors leading to decarbonizing the economy. The legislation will need a massive push if it is going to be brought into fruition with clear implementation strategies, accountability and above all, it has to call for substantial and lasting change. It must be concrete enough that it can be negotiated to impracticability.
As college students, we need to make our voices heard. Continue to participate in protests like the Climate Strike and call on our representatives to make lasting change happen such as The Green Deal. Let’s make sure it does not fall to the same fate so many other regulations and deals have done in the past.