As a young adult growing up in Generation X, I will be on the front line of a deciding battle with all things environmental. My peers and I will be responsible for slowing climate change, or we will be responsible for pushing it to the breaking point. We will save millions of species on earth, or we will be the cause of their untimely extinctions. We will see governments work together towards carbon neutrality, or we will see the earth we live on dissolve in ignorance. This puts a great deal of weight on our collective shoulders — we have the responsibility of saving our environment throughout the climax of the issues. And I believe that the most important way to accomplish our immediate goals is through government.
Knowing as much as a 17 year-old can about politics, I tend to identify as an independent. I’ve typically identified with many democratic values, but have helped run a republican campaign. One of the major problems with gridlock in our congressional system is the inability of individuals to compromise, and I intend to progress towards a more central political alignment. As an adult, I know I will attempt to compromise on health care, foreign relations, and most other issues in order to come to an agreement that makes sense for everyone. That being said, I will always refuse to compromise on the environment, energy, and natural resources.
There are many issues that the United States as a whole struggles with regarding these three issues. It would take years and thousands of pages to discuss the issues and necessary improvements we need to take to reach carbon neutrality. However, I will do what a majority of columnists and bloggers do, and bundle an array of messages and problems into one statement: My generation needs to search for and utilize long-term solutions.
I’ve become tired of arguing with fellow AP Government students about the Keystone XL Pipeline. Yes, there are economic benefits, but is it better to take the oil and a handful of short-term jobs, or put the money towards a renewable resource and long-term jobs? The Keystone XL Pipeline is only one example of a larger problem. It is vital that my generation realize that climate change and the way we are treating this planet have an extremely close impact. We can’t just leave the next generation to “take out the trash,” because we ARE the next generation.
I don’t care if you are a Republican, a Democrat, or anything else under the sky. It is vital to realize that we do indeed all live under the same sky. If we refuse to take political action, through votes, as congress women and men, as thoughtful citizens, or as volunteers, we will see the results of a society that doesn’t care about its environment. And all scientists can assure you that those results will be devastating.
As our generation, a new and younger one, takes the stage in the United States, we need to put our efforts together and make a change. Without change, our generation will be the final straw in a long line of negligence. The Puget Sound and the World that we love need the devotion and understanding of a conscious group of citizens, working together, across party lines, for a greater good.
By Claire J.