By Alec, Founder of Kids vs. Global Warming and the iMatter Campaign – Age 16
We have just witnessed a successful revolution in Egypt. Hundreds of thousands of people rallied in the streets and stood up against their brutal president and security force. The people gathered en masse to let their leaders know that they will no longer tolerate the corruption of their government, which caused poverty, extreme unemployment, and police brutality. It was a peaceful movement, non-violently rising up against a power that was unjust and wrong.
There were a few different sparks that set off this revolution. But what fueled the fire was the power and energy of youth. The protest which started the whole revolution happened because of a twenty five year old woman named Asmaa Mahfouz. On January 18th, she recorded a video calling upon her fellow Egyptians to stand up with her and protest on January 25th, an Egyptian national holiday called ‘Police Day.’’ You can see here video here.
This movement —just like scores of others throughout history— was fueled by youth. We, as young people have the passion, the tenacity, and the unyielding courage that it takes to lead our people in revolt against a more powerful ruling class.
Well there is now a danger that concerns every single young person alive on this planet today, and every generation yet unborn. It’s a lot more abstract than unemployment and police brutality. In some parts of the world, it’s an almost invisible danger. But it is there all the same. It is the most urgent threat of our time. It is climate change.
Our addiction to fossil fuels, like coal and oil, has caused the natural systems working on our planet to freak out. We’re seeing more destructive natural disasters than ever before, floods are getting more powerful, droughts are staying longer, people are running out of food, summers are getting hotter, winters are getting colder, even entire species of plants and animals are going extinct.
All of this is because of humanity’s addiction to fossil fuels. It’s been proven. Over 97% of certified scientists agree with that fact. If you know anything about scientists, you know that that is more than enough to have us worried.
For over one hundred years (starting with John Tyndall in 1859 and Svante Arrhenius in 1896,) scientists have been warning us about the catastrophe that could happen if we wait until we can already see the effects of climate change.
Well now, in 2011, we are already seeing the effects these scientists warned us about over a hundred and fifty years ago. Whether we like it or not, climate change is here.
But it’s not too late. Experts say we still have a chance to avoid the worst effects of climate change. But we have to act now.
And the solution to climate change is bigger than buying an energy efficient refrigerator or riding your bike to work. These are great things to do, but like it or not, they will not solve this problem.
We need a revolution. If we want to avoid the worst effects of climate change before it’s too late, it will take a complete cultural revolution. We need to change the way we think about everything we do.
We need to realize that the earth does not belong to us, and we need to begin to live as if the future matters. It’s not going to be easy to change an entire cultural mindset. But it will be possible, and this movement is going to be led by the youth. Because we have the biggest stake in this fight. The future is ours.
I am calling upon every young person out there today to join with me and march in our streets to demand that our survival is considered a top priority.
On Mothers’ Day, May 8th of this year, I will be Marching. And I am organizing an event called the iMatter March so you can march with me. We, as a generation will stand together with a unified voice and let the world know that climate change is not about money, it’s not about power, it’s not about short term interests, foreign oil, political agendas, energy efficiency, or planting trees in our backyard.
It is about our survival. Climate change is about the survival and every generation to come.
So join me, on May 8th, in cities all across the world, everywhere from state capitols to gas stations to beaches, we will let the ruling generation know that we matter!
We the youth quite literally have the chance to save the world for every generation to come. Because we are the only group of people who have the moral authority to say to our parents and our leaders, “Do I Matter to you?” “Does my future matter to you?”
I will be standing up for my future on May 8th. All I’m asking is, will you join me?
This is our time.