Opinion

Climate Change: Motivating Community Action

By Vivian Nguyen ’21

Have you noticed the blossoms on fruit trees? Are flowers already blooming in your yard? It’s only fall, but depending on where you live in the country, it looks like spring. With recent hot weather in Los Angeles, it feels more like summer. These changes in natural patterns have people finally talking about climate.

People are not only talking about climate change, they are also protesting. On September 20th, many Immaculate Heart students either skipped or left school early to attend a climate change rally, as part of the Global Climate Strike famously spearheaded by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

However, the ability to “opt-in” to participate in the climate change movement is a privilege for those whose affluence can distance them from its worst effects. Climate change is not indiscriminate; minority populations and those steeped in poverty without access to air conditioning systems or many alternative water sources usually suffer its worst effects.

According to Siri Gloppen and Asuncion Lera St. Clair in their article “Climate Change Lawfare” in the Journal of Social Research, “Ninety percent of all the deaths that have occurred since the 1990s because of weather events occurred in developing countries.” Developing countries are less able to address issues of climate change because of the lack of a response system for climate change policy.

In that sense, then, Immaculate Heart students represent engaged activists – those with the choice to participate in climate change involvement and the will to take it up. However, more can always be done.

In a world where air conditioning is a luxury and shelter is a privilege from the worst effects of climate change, perhaps attending a climate strike all about social justice and lifting up the disadvantaged should be mandatory. After all, we share this earth. Are we all not more than neighbors on this dust speck in a universe where we know of no one else?

For those who weren’t updated on the news that particular week, the Global Climate Strike was a surprise. It doesn’t have to be. Only with a cognizance that climate change is a responsibility shared by the collective human race, can the breakdown of social and economic walls begin, and in turn, motivate community action.

Graphic Credit: Wikimedia

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