OPINION: Students can no longer avoid global warming crisis

By Dylan Lepre, Editor-in-Chief

Two years ago, West Essex held assemblies to address the growing concern over climate change and how students could help join the fight. One assembly dealt with the effects of climate change, albeit without really helping students understand how this was a problem. The other talked more about green projects that they were working on. Both assemblies had an ambivalent-at best- response. Students didn’t pay attention, talking throughout the duration of each, and often laughed at the things the people were saying.

The content of the assemblies themselves were also a mess coupling a rather condescending tone with a lackadaisical approach such as not fully addressing the consequences of climate change. It seemed more befitting of an elementary school event rather than one aimed towards teenagers. Above all, however, they did not address why climate change was an issue and how it could change the lives of every person listening. However, it doesn’t all lay on the assembly or the people who run it. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to scare students or make them anxious for the future.

However, the data is as terrifying as anything teachers could tell their students. In an October poll which polled 200 students showed that 71% either do not believe in climate change or don’t really think about it in their daily life. Only 39% said they cared in anyway about it.

There needs to be a wakeup call for students at West Essex and around the world. Climate change is only growing worse and every passing year the consequences increase. In the past 50 years the earth has warmed by over a degree. If it grows past the 1.5 Celsius mark the effects will only worsen leading to droughts, mass starvation and catastrophic loss of life.

It is time for this to end. It is time for students to be anxious and understand the threat facing the planet. This is not climate change. It is a climate crisis. Yet adults tell teens that everything is okay, that they have nothing to worry over when they do. Many students at West Essex acknowledge the threat, but simply don’t care about it or take notice of its effects. Compared to everyday stresses like school, their futures and own personal bubbles, the threat of something as esoteric as climate change does not occupy any sort of importance.

Even more interesting is the reactions of students who said they “cared”. Students around would chide them for caring about the issue saying things like “What, how could you?” leaving the person to defend caring for the future of the world. Even more worrying is the multitude of students who believe global warming is “fake news” or a natural state.

West Essex principal Caesar Diliberto felt that the lack of care goes mostly towards a lack of awareness from the students of the school. “The ramifications are very far-reaching and really think people don’t understand the effect to which it will affect us,” Diliberto said.

This has to stop. It is time for West Essex students to wake up to the impending doom that is global warming. This problem can no longer be fixed by the adults of the last generation. Instead, they have been left for Generation X to solve. Activism is the only answer.

In this timeline, the world’s natural disasters will increase in deadlines and commonness according to a 2017 article by the Guardian. This is a very real future for the planet, but students- and US citizens as a whole- seem to have blocked out the reality of the situation. The effects of climate change, however, are already prevalent in the world.

Some West Essex students are taking a stand, however, to try and help out in the fight for the future. Senior class President and Chairman of Roseland’s environmental committee, Chris Duthie stresses the importance of protecting nature and halting the effects of climate change as soon as possible. “How we maintain our environment determines the freshness of our air, the cleanliness of our water, and the preservation of our natural landscapes’ beauty,” Duthie said. “We owe a clean environment to ourselves.”

It has to start with parents, however, as Diliberto notes and it seems that many have ignored the issue. “We can educate, we can try to model the behavior and I think we do,” he said. “We have teachers that have electric, hybrid cars and we think they educate. Short of me holding people’s hands, there is not much more I can do. Lots of the responsibility comes from parents and local leaders and policy level. Real change will occur at the policy level.”

West Essex student’s lack of care towards the subject is detrimental towards this generation and the next. For the last fifty years, despite the growing understanding of global warming, it has been ignored and pushed off for more “important” issues. The Earth is the only home that humans have and the lack of accountability for its protection is astounding.

Earth is the only home humans know. Its protection needs to be a priority as long as humans expect civilization to go on or everything that has been built will crumble. The collapse will not occur two or three centuries from now. It is coming, faster everyday, and the more damage we do, the harder it will be to recover. Citizens of countries around the world-especially the United States- have to step across party lines to save the world and bring about a brighter future.