Being young right now is terrifying. Being young has always been terrifying, I guess, with moving out and finding your place in this big, beautiful world. But right now, being young means I won’t get to grow old. And yeah, that’s terrifying.
Right now, as I am writing this, I am all too aware of the passage of time. As the seconds slip away, I feel my future slipping away with them. My siblings’ future. My friends’ future. My students’ future. YOUR future. Because with every second we waste on inaction on the climate crisis, with every second that greenhouse gasses are pumped into the atmosphere, with every second we continue to pillage this place we call home, this planet, this soil, this ocean, this Earth, with every second we continue on this path, my future is being stolen from me.
I am scared. I’m scared and I’m outraged and I’m confused. I don’t understand how people can be so corrupt, so greedy, so horrible. I don’t understand how our government can be complacent in killing us all. Because it is. It’s killing me, and you, and our neighbors. It’s killing marginalized peoples across this Earth. It’s killing all of the life on our Earth, in our seas, on our land, everything. We are all being murdered right now, with every goddamn second and I don’t understand how that is allowed to happen!
I don’t understand how people don’t get it. How they don’t comprehend that we needed to act yesterday, years ago, and for fuck’s sake NOW! How people miss that everything is connected and how we are screwing with the precious balance that this planet exists in. Homeostasis, people! With an increase of temperature you get more flooding, more droughts, loss of crops and depleted farmland. And then you get rising food prices, famine, desperation, conflict, migration, and war.
Maybe I’m just naive. Young. Maybe I don’t know anything about human nature. But I don’t understand, I can’t understand. They’re killing us. You’re killing us. We’re all killing each other.
It’s hard not to fall into despair most days. To feel like I’m capable of changing anything in this big, nasty place. It’s hard to find hope. But I do. I do what I can.
We all do what we can. We call our elected officials. We vote. We march, and stand tall, and yell and pound drums. We hold signs, and we take to the digital world when the real one becomes too much. And there we find that maybe people do get it.
Everyday on this little computer screen I hold in my hand I see faces my age and younger, who are just as outraged as me. I see people who are out there, day after day, week after week, fighting for our future. I see people risking their lives, their bodies, their educations. I see people giving speeches and writing books and making music. I see people from across the globe, those who look like me and those who don’t. People who understand, people who comprehend, people who know.
Sometimes, selfishly I wonder if I’m doing enough. If all these people my age and younger are making successful changes in this world, and I feel like I’m just sitting here spinning my wheels, how could I possibly be doing enough? And then I breathe, and remember: no one can fix it all, and each person can only do so much. And if what their “so much”, if your “so much,” is a little more than mine, that’s okay too.
I am scared. Being young right now is terrifying. I am outraged. Finding hope is hard. But when I’m out there fighting, when I’m in the woods teaching, sometimes I feel that glimmer. That’s why I write, that’s why I’m here fighting.
I’m not going to have a future. But maybe, just maybe, I could.