Gen-Z reflects on climate change impacts

“When I was 10, I remember when Hurricane Sandy hit. That was the first time I ever feared the weather,” said Allison Contreras, 20, a double major in psychology and Spanish.

There are signs throughout the world that showcase the impact of humans on Earth. Rivers are drying, warning that famine and disease could be vastly approaching. According to the Guardian, a hunger stone in the northern Czech region – one that only becomes visible when the water level drops has the message “If you see me, then weep.”

Climate change is imminent. According to NASA, storms are becoming increasingly powerful, sea levels are rising, the global temperature is increasing and the planet is crying for help. Death and peril are a reality that cannot be ignored for much longer.

Earlier this year, climate scientists took a confrontational approach to garner attention. The Washington Post reported scientists were chaining themselves to the White House fence on multiple occasions. The scientists would appear in their lab coats, wrapping chains around their necks or waists and locking themselves in. Worldwide protests broke out as scientists cried for people to listen.

As a global society, climate change needs immediate attention. The issue may not directly affect hundreds of thousands of people, but there are populations actively affected. NASA depicts an image of an angry sea thrashing against the Republic of Maldives.

Natural disasters — like Hurricane Ian, the Atlantic hurricane that struck severe and deadly damage in western Cuba, Florida and South Carolina — are rapidly growing in strength. These disasters are an example of how damning climate change is becoming. In Florida alone, more than 100 lives were claimed by Hurricane Ian, according to the New York Times. Access to basic necessities such as water and electricity are limited.

Brooke Goldberg, a 20-year-old environmental science major, said, “I never had the thought that this would happen but as I got older, I definitely saw it more and heard about it more, and now I’m studying it. It’s horrible and scary, and it’s sad.”

Communities in countries with little support from their government will suffer the most, as they are most often ignored and forgotten. They will be the first to suffer the consequences of humanity’s ignorance.

“Climate change does not have something to do with your specific town,” Goldberg continued. “Some places won’t feel it like in New Jersey, but we’re talking about the global temperature and averages of the temperature. Not your little hometown.”

If an issue does not directly affect people, they are more likely to ignore it. The message is being received by some, but it is not enough. There are communities that believe climate change is not real and fiercely deny the truth. People in power do not acknowledge the severity of the situation. There are not enough steps being taken to ensure progress in slowing down the mayhem.

“Using your voice and acting on climate change prevention plans is immensely important. Speak up and do something. It takes more than one person to change things,” Contreras said. “It takes support and action.”

There are many common goals humanity should focus on. One of them being climate change.

“What type of world do you want for your kids and the generations after you?” Goldberg said.

Photo courtesy of Kelly, Pexels.