From: Adithi Balaji
St. Patrick High School
We are often afraid of change.
Humanity is reluctant to let go of the past, in fear that a changed future might be bleak. However, in recent years, it has become clear that we cannot ignore these changes. Human activity has caused our climate to change at a rate faster than anything our world has known before.
As Northerners, we experience the effects of climate change more vividly than others. Last spring, Yellowknife’s iconic ice castle melted. Every year, issues like forest fires and permafrost melt affect the lives of thousands of people. Climate change is more than a minor inconvenience; it is a bona fide emergency. The impacts of this emergency are clear, yet many of us are still hesitant to act.
As a high school student, I have spent many nights studying the natural wonders and biological processes of our planet. Comprehending the beauty and complexity of Earth has left me with a deep appreciation for our home. It is clear to me that the beauty deserves to be seen by everyone. A few months ago, I spoke to a student at my school about the changing climate. She was afraid, she told me, that her future children might not be able to have healthy, fulfilling lives. It was then that I truly understood the plight of our world. A world in which a teenager, just barely out of childhood herself, feels anxious about the future is truly disquieting. Nevertheless, it is youth like her that have been at the forefront of the push for climate action.
However, youth cannot win this fight alone. We need community support. On Nov. 29, youth from across Yellowknife joined thousands around the world to rally to uphold our right to a sound future.
By declaring a climate emergency and taking real action, the Government of the Northwest Territories could take steps toward a more sustainable tomorrow. Legislation that encourages the reduction of greenhouse gas use is necessary if we wish to protect our world for future generations. By implementing a shift towards more sustainable practices within our territory, such as the use of renewable energy sources and energy-efficient retrofitting, we can shape a resilient society. The creation of climate change education and awareness campaigns would ensure that everyone is informed about the science of climate change, allowing us to move towards a brighter future for us all.
It’s time we follow through on our promises. Instead of merely hearing youth voices, let’s start listening to their ideas. Instead of blaming others for our problems, let’s work together to find a solution.
A better future is always possible, if we are willing to work for it.