Grace Thornton Second Place Winner in Grades 7 to 9
7th grade, Hardy Middle School – Matthew Gallant (Teacher)
“Don’t take away my snow days!”
Those were the words displayed on my poster during my first climate march. Quite a few people stopped and asked for pictures on that cold, windy day in 2016. They laughed, but I assure you climate change is no laughing matter. That’s the whole reason I was at that protest, aged eight and all bundled up, when I could have been home watching SpongeBob: to prove that global warming is real and to be taken seriously.
My generation and I believe that more than any other because we will have to face the rising temperatures, devastating hurricanes, flooded coastlines, disappearing polar bears, habitat loss, ocean acidity – and all the other effects of climate change. Adults are failing us. They are more concerned with flying to a meeting halfway across the world than reducing the airplane pollution that threatens the literal future of the planet.
So that’s why I’m doing my part by going to protests whenever I can and getting my friends to come with me and spread the word. My parents and my sister all have environment-related jobs and passions, so I am informed about ways I can help out, as well as ideas of how to tackle climate change.
People who don’t want to act say that it’s too big a problem to solve, but that’s not true. The Green New Deal is a radical Congressional resolution for combating global warming. It calls for the removal of carbon-based fuels, like coal and oil, that produce the greenhouse gases that are a big contributing factor to climate change. It also requests a federal jobs guarantee, which would create millions of green jobs for those who need them. Putting the Green New Deal into action would be a huge step forward and would help create a more stable future. Unfortunately, so far it has not gained much support in Congress.
It’s no surprise that younger generations who will be most affected by climate change are those that support the Green New Deal most strongly. That’s why we are on the streets demanding that those in power listen to us and vote for it.
Our reactions to the current pandemic show that we can come together as a nation to overcome a challenge that threatens the whole world. If we can do this for the coronavirus outbreak, we can do this for the climate crisis. Because it will be just as life-threatening if we do nothing.
You might be thinking, “You’re a kid. You shouldn’t have to worry about these things. You should be at home watching your favorite TV show.” And I agree. I would much rather eat popcorn and rewatch Stranger Things. Instead, I am constantly fearful that the future for myself and my friends is clouded by the fact that our planet may not be livable 30, 40, 50 years from now. And that’s why my bedroom cupboard is full of climate posters. Because, as my friend’s sign said the last time we protested on the National Mall in November, “There is no Planet B”.