Short-sightedness of our political class in the face of climate change is truly distressing. We must convince political leaders to make climate justice and our wellbeing a priority.
by Steven Bajada
Image: #ClimateStrike at COP24, Katowice by Avaaz, Flickr
My name is Steven Bajada, and I would like to share a few reasons why Youth4Clinate is calling for more action to combat climate change—and why you too should join us.
#FridaysForFuture was sparked by a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. Her fiery speech at the UN Climate Change Summit in Poland in December 2018 made the international headlines. Thunberg castigated the world leaders for decades of inaction and too-small steps in the face of climate crisis. She decided to make her voice and the voice of her generation heard by boycotting school every Friday and instead sitting in front of Swedish Parliament to call on parliamentarians for serious commitment to the Paris climate agreement.
The school strike continues.
957 places in 82 countries and counting…
Everyone is needed.
Everyone is welcome.
Please spread the word!
Find your closest strike or register your own at https://t.co/ROmtFMrj6Y#FridaysForFuture #SchoolsStrike4Climate #ClimateStrike pic.twitter.com/DJfIgkL1eh
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) March 10, 2019
The Planet Calls for Action!
A century of reliance on fossil fuels brought the planet on the brink of climate calamity. Within my lifetime a third of all life on Earth stands at risk of extinction. Even if governments fulfill all the policies and obligations of the Paris Climate Agreement, the planet will warm by 3 degrees by the end of the 21st century.
Climate scientists warn that the effect of climate change will intensify and that within a decade the environmental catastrophe and the loss of biodiversity extinction will trigger a domino effect whose impact on the planet—and therefore, of course, on human life—will be irreversible.
The first domino is certainly swaying. The sea level is rising as more ice is melting at the poles, and as the ice coverage is shrinking, less heat is reflected back into space, impairing a mechanism that helps keep the planet cool.
A second domino are heatwaves and drought. They are already more severe than they were a generation ago. Intense forest fires in California and Greece are at once a consequence of climate change and its tool as fires destroy a vital carbon sink and release more carbon, thus aggravating climate change further.
A third domino is what is happening beneath the surface of the oceans. The chemistry of the oceans is changing since roughly 30 percent of human-made carbon dioxide is absorbed by them. That makes sea water more acidic. My generation will be the last to witness a thriving coral reef and my children will only be able to read about it in history books. The Great Barrier Reef is suffering and half of it is already dead.
Rising sea, drought and forest fires will render vast swathes of land uninhabitable, forcing millions of people to move away from places previously inhabited.
Climate change means that human societies will change beyond recognition, too. Rising sea, drought and forest fires will render vast swathes of land uninhabitable, forcing millions of people to move away from places previously inhabited. The impact of extreme climate events on agriculture will put food security at risk. Climate change will affect lower income communities disproportionately more and this is why we must also talk about climate justice.
Climate Justice for Malta!
Addressing world leaders in Katowice, Greta Thunberg had this to say:
You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake. You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to us children. […]
But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet. Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.”
Her words resonate with us, Maltese youth, since the reasoning of economic growth at all cost reigns supreme in our country. Short-sightedness of our political class in the face of climate change is truly distressing. Undoubtedly, our tiny archipelago will be affected by climate change; in a few decades’ time the rising sea will claim the overbuilt coastal areas, yet, in the words of Environment Minister, “land reclamation at sea is the most long-term sustainable solution”.
Short-sightedness of our political class in the face of climate change is truly distressing. Although we all are aware of the urgent need to move away from fossil fuels, more fuel stations are being approved in Malta.
Although we all are aware of the urgent need to move away from fossil fuels, more fuel stations are being approved in Malta. Uptake of agricultural land and green areas for more construction is a crime against our food security and wellbeing, yet the pledges of concerned citizens are being ignored.
I ask you to join me for the Climate Strike outside parliament at 12.30 this Friday, 15 March. The future of our planet and our islands is in our hands. We must convince political leaders to make climate justice and our wellbeing a priority. This is why we must act—for the planet, for the future!
Steven Bajada is Youth Ambassador for the European Code Against Cancer and youth activist.