There is no Planet B: young people are the voice of reason for the environment

By Bethan Baker

As the world edges ever closer towards the perils of global warming, it becomes more important that effective action is taken towards protecting the planet from the negative effects of our growing industrialist society.

Despite the magnitude of the direct and indirect perils of climate change, it seems that significant government action, which could be fundamental in lessening the effects of global warming, both currently and in the future, is condemningly absent from the agenda of both the Conservative government and the main opposition parties.

Since the Brexit referendum in June 2016, where the country narrowly decided to leave the European Union, a violent storm of uncertainty and frustration has hit, causing the focal point of the media, general public and government policy to be unmoved from the epicentre of Brexit.

Now, all debates, white papers and significant legislation are tainted by Brexit – with every government department being entirely dependent on the state of conditions that we will leave the EU with, on March 29, 2019.

While we have been mired in Brexit, there have been a whirlwind of environmental change on an international level. Global warming is destroying the natural beauty of the North Pole glaciers, causing shifting precipitation patterns and further disrupting the natural habitats of animals who have been forced to become migrants due to the consequences of the selfish human race.

Melting ice at the North Pole

For those in the current community who seem to care little about the plight of animals, it is only a matter of time before the reality of climate change becomes impactful to people themselves. With sea levels set to rise between 26 and 28 cm by the end of the century[1], low lying towns and cities are at a higher threat of flooding than ever before.

Storms, such as Storm Callum in October last year, are also continuing to cause significant damage to our homes; without a counter-action to global warming these storms will not just persist, but become worse.

We are living in a present where the world does not have time for distraction, yet with Brexit, Trump’s Trade War and with Macron attempting to quash the des Gilets Jaunes, it seems that it is not just our government who has been neglecting the call for innovation and action in the face of climate change.

Without action we are complicit and in the destruction of our only home; a delinquency that is unacceptable and damning for the future generations of our world.

The rise of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, along with the rapid progress of technology, has given birth to the Digital age of social media; despite having evils of its own, this advancement provides the ability to contact and influence a significant amount of people, especially now that age, language location and ethnicity are no longer barriers.

Social influencers such as Jack Harries have been instrumental in raising awareness of global warming and in encouraging young people far and wide to not be complacent with the current, declining situation of our world.

Recently Harries talked at Vevolution Festival on March 5 discussing his travels on the ‘front line of climate change’ and how the small actions of individuals can have a significant effect on the future prospects of our country.

On February 15, thousands of British students took to the streets to strike for climate change, the result of a gross manifestation of anger and frustrations at a government that refuses to tackle the crisis.

Organisers of the strike have said that more than 10,000 students, from the Highlands to Cornwall, were active in the protest, demonstrating a level of mature concern that is wholly absent from the politicians who make up our government.

Students at the Youth Strike for Climate Change

The strikers have met with mixed reactions from the leading UK politicians, with Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn (as ever) representing the opposing attitudes of the issue. May criticised strikers, claiming that they resulted in more work for their teachers as well as wasting lesson time, in contrast Corbyn said it was “inspiring to see them making their voice heard.”

Recently, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran secured a debate on climate change on March 1 after reportedly being inspired by the Youth Strike 4 Climate Change. However, throughout the debate, many of the MPs, both from Labour and the Conservatives, were seen leaving the chamber.

This paints the picture of an overwhelmingly indifferent government, despite the lengths students and other groups have taken to create awareness around the issue. It therefore seems that currently, no significant legislation will be passed in order to deter the detrimental effects humans make on the environment.

As the consequences of human greed and industry manifest, our world edges closer to the brink, an inevitable fate if significant action is not taken now, while we still have a planet to take action on. In addition, due to the government’s inadequacy, the once apolitical youth have been forced to become activists; it is ironic that the group with no physical political power are the ones who have become the voice of reason in the face of a disillusioned and assuming government.

There is no planet B.

[1] National Geographic

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