Growing up, you experience many thoughts and fears that keep you awake at night. When you are young, fears range from the tapping of a tree against your window in the middle of a thunderstorm to the illogical idea that someone or something is hiding under your bed. After a while, you outgrow these fears. However, that does not mean your mind will not conjure up new terrors to chase away sleep. Unfortunately, the fears you develop as an adult always seem to be a little more realistic. They make you mourn the days when reassurance came with the call of a parent. They would check under the bed or turn on the light and instantly put your fears at ease. Over the past few months, my sources of worry and loss of sleep have been unemployment, money, and the health and safety of those I care for. However, as of two nights ago, a new one has begun to rear its ugly head as I turn off the lights and close my eyes, climate change.
There should not be a single person who has not thought about and/or discussed the effects that climate change has had on our world. Within the past two years, we have witnessed fires burn their way through California and Australia, causing irreversible damage and death. I have done my best to keep up with the information surrounding climate change as it comes, including staying up to date with what world leaders are saying and planning to do about the matter. However, when the leader of your country does not believe in climate change and thinks that he knows better than science, that is when I start to seriously question how we will possibly make it out of this situation.
Two days ago, on September 14th, a video went viral of President Donald Trump talking to California officials about the fires breaking out all across the state. These fires have been destroying property, killing plants, animals, and people. The soot remaining from the fires has made their way up to Washington and Oregon, polluting the skies. Everyone on the west coast of the United States has felt the ramifications of these climate-induced fires. Due to this, representatives felt that it was finally time to team up with POTUS to take action.
Now the United States has known for a while that Trump a) has fought the idea of climate change being real and b) claimed on several occasions about a variety of topics that he knows better than the science presented to him. But with the evidence right in front of us, we held on to the hope that he would finally take action. Unfortunately, many were bitterly un-surprised by Trump’s response when he listened, with a smirk on his face, to the California officials making their case. Trump simply stated, “Okay, it’ll start getting cooler. Just you watch.” A California official interrupted him saying, “I wish the science agreed with you,” uncomfortably chuckling at the awkward and horrific response of the President. Trump brushed him off and continued to say, “Yeah well, I don’t think science knows actually,” before shifting the topic of conversation.
That same day, NASA came out with an official map of all the places in the world that are on fire. It was after seeing this map and watching this clip that I was no longer able to fall asleep. I started questioning how long humans will last on this Earth if we continue down this path of no action as we watch the world burn around us. I started looking up when humans expect to go extinct and asking myself how much of a future will younger generations have. I know this reaction seems extreme and a little silly, but the world is drowning in its consequences, and unless we take action, it will only get worse. Articles by experts are circulating, telling people what to expect in 2030 if nothing changes, and let me tell you it is exactly what everyone who is paying attention has been fearing.