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Shivani Gopal's Letter
To future children ,
Before humans existed, there had been 5 mass extinctions (where almost all species on Earth were lost). It is distressing to consider the extreme likelihood that the potential 6th mass extinction, looming over our heads, could be caused by us humans taking more than we need. Put plainly, our selfishness and lack of care is the asteroid that is currently causing people to endure extreme poverty, famine, disease, flooding and much more, to the point of death.
The climate crisis has worsened due to privileged people in developed countries, being unappreciative of the resources they have access to, wasting them and demanding more from developing countries. These innocent people in developing countries, under no fault of theirs, live in sheer struggle due to lack of resources, and it is their innocent lives that are being lost even in this very moment that I am writing this letter. We live in a disgracefully unfair and selfish society, right?
It has always puzzled me how many religions and philosophies – that teach that about selflessness and that every being is one in the same – exist in this type of society. Social movements, demanding equality for all genders and races have peaked amongst the troughs of climate injustice. So ironic! Recently, headlines about the death toll in Pakistan due to recent floods, severe energy shortages around Europe, record-breaking temperature rises in countless countries, appalled tweets about the lack of climate action by governments have been exploding from my mobile phone. It is devastating.
Truthfully, as time has progressed, more people have decided to take a stance on climate activism, more people are beginning to care, world leaders have acknowledged that it is an issue, but still, not enough is being done. My concern is that the climate crisis will not be given the necessary attention, in your time, and therefore inadequate action will be taken by leaders, in attempt to alleviate it.
I am currently at the cusp of childhood, have recently been reflecting on various high school experiences and it struck me that my school did not play a huge role in my exposure and concern for the climate crisis. My attention mostly came from independent reading. School is meant to be the place where we develop and are infused with the essential knowledge to prepare us for the future. People foster concern for issues the more knowledge that they have about them; another fear is that children in your time will be leaving school pretty much oblivious to the crisis and the impacts that it has on their world and other people. Consequently, the world will be deprived of potential environmental activists, researchers, engineers, and politicians as people were not given knowledge and a chance to develop concern when they were younger. I hope children in your generation do not lack awareness as much as those in mine. I hope ‘more people are beginning to care’ has evolved into ‘most people care.’
I am sorry that you are forced to fight the struggles and injustices that arose due to the ignorance of previous generations- in my eyes, you are as unfortunate as the millions in developing countries, who were also bombarded with problems not brought about by themselves. You were born in an unfair society, but I hope that you will engage in the battle against mistakes of the past by urging world leaders to do more. I hope that your children are not born with the burdens that you and I were. I promise to help as much as I can too, along with the increasing number of climate activists here today.
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