Yesterday we attended an inspiring climate strike in Charlotte. The event was one of an ongoing series of weekly school walk-outs initiated by local students, led by Myers Park High student Mary Ellis Stevens. Demanding action from lawmakers on climate change, they are inspired by Greta Thunberg, the remarkable, 16-year-old Swedish activist who started a global climate movement among young people.
Believe it or not, Thunberg was on hand to speak! She has already been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. And this September, she delivered a passionate rebuke to a gathering of world leaders at the United Nations. Most of us who watched the news on television were impressed by her courageous “How dare you!” challenges to the assembly, a gathering from which our president walked out.
The Charlotte event attracted some 1,200 youngsters of all ages who carried protest signs and chanted demands for lawmakers to take climate change seriously. Thunberg said to them, “It is we young people who are the future, but there is not time for us to grow up and become the ones in charge, because we need to tackle the climate right now … we want to be able to say we did everything we could to push the world in the right direction.”
The scientific evidence of global warming is clear and widespread as are the obvious events we can witness firsthand: rising sea levels, raging wildfires, severe droughts, more intense hurricanes, epic flooding, and so on.
For example, the New York Times recently reported stories of unexpected costs related to climate change: New York City’s subway system did not flood in its first 108 years. Then, in 2012, Hurricane Sandy made its debut. Its 2012 storm surge caused nearly $5 billion in water damage, much of which is still not repaired. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey, cost Houston $125 billion! We also know that last month the United States Federal Reserve Bank published unprecedented warnings about global warming’s potential to disrupt financial markets and put our investments at risk. Even CEO’s of the major fossil fuel companies now admit global warming is a problem.
According to most current studies, including a recent Gallup Poll, a majority of Americans say that global warming is real, documented by scientists, and caused by humans. In stark contrast, many Congressmen in both Washington and North Carolina remain in denial, while our president calls global warming “a hoax.” This week, he notified the United Nations that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Agreement in which 200 nations have pledged to cut greenhouse emissions. Unacceptable disconnects, don’t you think?
It behooves everyone—including the skeptics among us—to educate themselves about climate change, which is increasingly considered an existential threat. Please check our prior post here which identifies highly informative reads about climate change.