Twelve More Years


Leonard Blachly-Preston, Staff Writer

“This has to stop,” declared Swedish activist Greta Thunberg in New York City on September 20, 2019, when she spoke at the worldwide climate march.

The second worldwide climate march in 2019 was called for by Greta Thunberg and many other climate activists after the United Nations released a report that stated that there were only twelve years until the damage of climate change was irreversible.

It was not only activists who took to the streets, but 7.6 million people walked out of school and work in hundreds of different cities around the globe. I was one of the people who walked out of school. I planned with Principal Benjamin Lev and a group of students who also wanted to walk out, and at 10:57 AM on September 20, 2019, I met up with 6th-grade student Leo Cossey and we walked out of school together and went to the climate march after meeting up with friends on the 1 train.

At the march, we gave a message to the world leaders that they need to take the necessary action to stop climate change or else the human race will become extinct. 

Activist George Monbiot explained, “We are the most intelligent species to have ever roamed the earth, yet we are causing it’s destruction. While there is a perfect solution right in front of us, we destroy it. While big cities such as New York work on projects to plant trees, it is actually the small towns that have the perfect environment who are the ones cutting down the natural solution, trees, and using the wood to expand the town. We need to put a stop to this. We need to plant more trees and burn less fossil fuels. It is still possible to stop climate change.” 

Principal Benjamin Lev of the Hamilton Grange Middle School expressed his opinions on the effects of climate change in an interview in which he stated, “I am terrified of what will come from the effects of climate change, because every year now is the hottest on record, and there have been countless natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis, all of which have been caused by climate change.”

When asked about what we can do about climate change, he responded, “I think that more so than anything else, we need to help countries like India and China, who house billions of people, almost half of the world’s population, to stop burning fossil fuels the way that we do, and the worst part is that we are in a position to help them, but we choose not to.”

This was one of the reasons that all across the United States of America, people took to the streets, to beg for a future. 

6th-grade Humanities teacher, Luke Bolton said, “What really saddens me is that the places that did the least, get the most, so small islands will be whipped by storms but they did nothing, they barely burn fossil fuels, yet they will be destroyed.”     

So what can be done about climate change?  Ending the use of fossil fuels completely would reduce carbon emissions significantly. We need to stop eating meat because it will reduce methane from polluting the air. This will also save cows and sheep from being killed. 

When I attended the climate march along with 7.6 million, we brought attention to climate change. When we chanted “Climate change is not a drill”, we weren’t lying. Climate change is real. We can no longer deny that. We need to take evasive action to stop it. 

At the climate march, I asked someone why they were there, and they stated, “The climate is our home. You cannot separate the people and the planet. Later is too late. We need to take action NOW.” 

In order to save our planet we can follow these three steps: Protect, Restore, Fund. That is what will save our planet.

Protect: We need to protect trees and nature. We are part of nature and plants are a natural climate solution.

Restore: Our climate is dying. But nature is able to regenerate. Our job is to help it make a comeback.

Fund: Only 3 percent of our climate funds go to the cause of natural climate solutions. We need to give more money to help the climate. It is your money. Your taxes. You should decide where it goes. That is what you need to do. We can still stop this, but we need to act fast. We have 12 years to stop this, and it is your fate.   

                                                         Protect, Restore, Fund