Environmental Activism Is Not Taken Seriously
With the increase of natural disasters, the ongoing degradation of environments, and rising levels of endangered species, it is concerning that the call for environmentally friendly policies and actions are not being heard.
2019 has become a pivotal year in revealing the vast impact of global warming, pollution and environmental degradation. We have witnessed record breaking high temperatures in Europe, high levels of sea life dying out because of plastics, and a number of cyclones and strange weather patterns hitting the coasts of Africa and the Americas. In response to this, environmental groups, activists and lobbying groups have been working tirelessly to convince politicians and policymakers to reverse decisions that are playing a role in damaging the environment and contributing towards rising temperatures and sea levels. However, it seems that the people in ‘positions of power’ are not taking the matter as seriously as they should.
For the last 5 years, scientists have provided statistics and reports to the United Nations regarding the effects of climate change and humans’ devastating effects of plastic use, and pollution. The ultimatum reached by scientists is that if nations do not agree to cut down on their pollution, we will reach a point where global warming is irreversible, and the world, as we know it, will never be the same. We’ve seen global warming and pollution detriment ecosystems such as the Great Barrier Reef, which recently, has reported to be the smallest that it’s ever been.
The most heartbreaking, environmental news this week has been the forest fires in the Amazon rainforest. Known as “The Lungs of Earth” for producing 20% of the oxygen in our atmosphere, the Amazon rain forest has been on fire since the 15th August. The forest fire has been so widespread that it has destroyed an area twice the size of Japan’s capital city, Tokyo. The big concern was that it took nearly two weeks for this environmental disaster to become mainstream news, only after Brazilians and environmental activists raised the matter on social media platforms. They were right in arguing why more attention was given to Notre Dame’s burning and not the Amazon Forest, which plays a huge role in keeping us alive. A list of ways to help out can be found here.
It is important recognise activism that has been on the rise in recent years. Young leaders, such as Greta Thunberg, have been lobbying with governments around the world to implement the Paris Agreement, and to counter Global Warming with eco-friendly policies. Unfortunately, people such as Donald Trump do not take her seriously, most probably due to their ageist and sexist views, first and foremost, and secondly, because they still deny the existence of Global Warming. In fact, some writers have argued that young leaders are being “influenced” and “controlled” to lead and push these “views”.
Earlier this year, students from South Africa, the UK and USA took a break from school, college and university by taking to the streets and protesting against global warming and governments’ indifference to changing policies and decisions that are negatively impacting the environment. Whilst this united the younger generations and indicated their common cause for a greener, safer and healthier future for the world, the response from critics, analysts and politicians were not so great. Ageist comments were used to disregard the protesters’ genuine issues and some even told the students to “go back to school.”
Despite the nonchalant views of governments and companies, there is no doubt that environmental activism is on the rise. People are beginning to notice the severe impact of pollution and the damaging effects that have been taking place as a consequence. It is clear that activism will become more prevalent, and the time is ticking for governments until it is too late for Planet Earth.