It is going to be their world soon, their planet.
So we should not be surprised high school students care and want to know just what they are inheriting: Bigger, stronger storms, more terrifying fires, pieces of the continent submerging.
That’s the forecast for global climate change. That’s what Cody High School students have been hearing and reading and they are distressed that the adults in the room don’t seem to have plans to fix things.
Looking for the answer to What-are-you-going-to-do-about it? They pretty much get: Nothing.
They do not like the sounds of silence, so last week they marched out of school and protested, demonstrating not naivety as climate-change deniers may think, but social consciousness.
Senior Maya Snyder, 17, believes in science. She has followed environmental news for the last year-and-a-half, sorting emotion from fact and the facts scare her. “Yes, I’m young,” Snyder said. “But I’m old enough to have an opinion. It’s something that is near and dear to me. The outdoors is my place.”
She also plans to study zoology in college and if the planet heats up, if the oceans roil, she wants to know how many creatures may go extinct.
Climate change deniers are hopeless. They ignore wildfires growing larger, icebergs flaking off like dandruff in Antarctica, the warmest summer on record in Alaska, the threats to coastal communities.
To believe that humankind did not, and does not, contribute to changes through greenhouse gases and carbon emissions is a form of arrogance.
It’s all just coincidence, right?
The most frightening things anyone can read about this seismic, if gradual and steady environmental change, is that it is already too late. By that, the scientists and experts mean, even if people throughout the world drastically change many of their habits it is past the point where good intentions can resolve matters.
A highly publicized story, “The Uninhabitable Earth,” by writer David Wallace-Wells, appeared in New York Magazine in 2017. It is the most read story in the history of the publication. Forget Halloween movies, this is the stuff to give you the heebie-jeebies.
The first section of the article is headlined “Doomsday.” The first sentence of the story reads, “It is, I promise, worse than you think.”
The article (which has now expanded into a new book) also contains the comment, “We have already lost Miami.”
Meaning the inevitably of sea rise by 2050 or so will drown that community no matter what reversal steps may be undertaken. What makes Wallace-Wells’ research so intimidating is discussion of the ripple effects such as temperature increases altering global food supplies and leading to chaos in some places.
So there is every reason for youths such as Snyder and her like-minded friends to be ticked off at older generations. Snyder is a devoted researcher on this topic, but finds the news so distressing at times she must turn away.
“A lot of the time I have to stop reading,” she said. “It makes me upset. It makes me sad.”
Who can blame someone for harboring those emotions if they are viewing a mortgaged future?