Millennials’ Rallying Cry (And Generation Z)

Millennials, anyone born between 1981 and 1996, along with people born after them, those dubbed Generation Z, are facing a major political and global health issue, climate change.

While I know there are still “climate skeptics” in the U.S., mainly elected officials that have been bought by the oil and gas industry, their views are such a minority and so factually ignorant they will not be acknowledged in this post, and should be condemned and called out by everyone, including the media.

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released their 6th report on Climate change, and the first since the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, the United States is the only country on Earth not in this agreement.

EVEN NORTH KOREA AND SYRIA ARE.

Digressing, even though that is depressing, the report is horrifying in its detail and the lack of time they say the world has to stop these changes.

The Panel says that to prevent the most drastic and destructive effects of climate change the global temperature rise must be held below 1.5 degrees Celsius, and at the pace we’re on that seems slim, but possible. The panel says “there is no documented historic precedent” to the amount of change that must be done in energy and transportation to keep the temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius. If this is not addressed by 2030 it’s predicted that the effects will be irreversible, and the world we live on now will be vastly different than the one we share with our kids and grandkids.

The main issue, and change that must be undertaken is the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere worldwide.

International Energy Agency

As the chart shows, CO2 emissions have undoubtedly increased in the past nearly 40 years, but that trend is consistent for the past 300 or so years. Coincidentally, not so much, during that same time the global temperature has increased by a significant, and dangerous amount as well.

NASA Earth Observatory

That chart alone may explain why its nearly 80 degrees right now in Happy Valley, but it also misleading. Many people attribute surface temperature to actual land, but 90% of the temperature rise is absorbed by the top layer of the Ocean. The has major consequences, many of which are being seen in real time. Hurricane Michael, the most recent storm which is ravaging northern Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas (again), was originally predicted to his land at a category 2 storm. Nearly overnight that storm reached category 4 and was just shy of category 5, with wind speeds of 155 mph. That makes it the 6th strongest storm, by wind speed, to make landfall in the United States.

That discrepancy in the predicted strength and the actual strength can be attributed to the water temperature in the Gulf of Mexico as it headed towards the Florida Panhandle. The water in the Gulf was abnormally warm for this time of the year, about 4 degrees warmer than normal, and that contributes to the strengthening of a storm.

As the water in the globe keeps warming, as is happening and will continue to happen according to the IPCC unless the actions they outlined in their report are taken, these storms are going to get stronger and stronger and will put more people’s lives in danger. Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, Florence, and Michael are all bigger than Katrina was and the storms 5 years from now will be even stronger than these if nothing is done.

The question that now must be posed is, why aren’t elected officials doing more to combat this issue?

The answer is two-fold; first the party currently in control has many skeptics of this phenomana and their campaigns are partially funded by gas and oil industries that have contributed to this epidemic more than almost anyone else, the other is the fact of who the elected officials are and who their voters are. Our Congress is comprised of mainly older people that will, inevitably, be gone by the time the worst of climate changes impacts are upon us. They have no personal reason to try and stop this in its tracks. Similarly, their main voting base are older people that do not care about this issue nearly as much as they should for the sake of their grandchildren. Also, millennials don’t vote nearly as much as those other blocks so their main concerns are largely ignored because incumbents know they won’t lose votes if they do nothing.

Thus, millennials need to start voting more, and for people that actually care for the future of this planet. We have to live here once the current people in power are gone and the sooner we replace them with people that believe science and care about climate change, the better out plant will be and the beer our kids’ planet will be.

 

Millennials are now the largest voting block in this country, but not enough of them vote to make a legitimate difference in policy-making in this country. However, there are reasons to be hopeful for the future if they do start voting. Millennials overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and a new poll by The Hill finds that millennials support Democrats over Republicans by 30 points!

Current situations seem grim, and they definitely are, but the future is bright and that should be cause to get motivated and support candidates everywhere that care about the future of this country and the world.

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