Our planet is dying. That’s it, the complete and utter truth. If we do nothing about the rising oceans, melting glaciers, intense forest fires, and the disappearing ozone layer, humanity is going to pay the price. For years and years, people have been trying to get the world to listen. But so many people just don’t care! Look where that’s lead us- the Amazon Rainforest is on fire, our sea levels are rising, and the air we need to live is becoming increasingly toxic.
Recently, I’ve been reading books set in dystopian futures.(A dystopian future is “an imagined state or society in which there is great suffering or injustice, typically one that is totalitarian or post-apocalyptic”). Examples of this include The Hunger Games universe, the Divergent universe, etc. But the fact is that these books have been showing us the future, giving us an idea of what our world will be like if we do nothing to save it.
In “Birthmarked”, by Caragh M. O’Brien, the year is 2403. The world has been baked dry by the heat of the sun. Almost all of the world’s water is gone, and it never rains. Those who don’t cover up their skin are victim to terrible sunburns. The first three babies born each month in each sector are taken from their mothers and given to the Enclave. These babies are adopted by wealthy families and never see their birthmother again. The first book in a trilogy, a midwife-in-training must break into the Enclave and rescue her parents, who have been arrested for keeping a record of the babies born in their sector. I found this book very interesting, but disturbing at the same time. While the story is well-written and intriguing, certain details, like the idea that large sections of earth are wastelands, or the fact that most of the Enclave’s population carries a hemophilia gene, which is causing numerous deaths, gave me chills. It’s hard to imagine anything like that happening, but at the same time, it’s easy to.
Meanwhile, in “The Lorax”, by Dr. Seuss, the Onceler has chopped down all of the Truffula trees to make “thneeds”. By building his factory, all of the native animals have been forced to live elsewhere, due to the overwhelming pollution and food shortage, and the sky is always filled with gray smog. Even worse, in the movie, everything in the town of Thneedville is made of plastic, and a business tyrant even found a way to make the residents pay for their air! Thankfully, a boy named Ted finds a way to show the town the truth. Since this is a Dr. Seuss book, I don’t think I need to say too much, but I will say that this is a wonderful book to use to explain climate change to your children.
Both of these books fall under a new category called “Cli-Fi”, or Climate Fiction, where the books deal with climate change and/or its lasting effects. Other good examples include The 100, Snow Piercer, The Marrow Thieves, and Winston of Churchill.
Now, I know you’ve read about climate change before. You’ve learned about it in school, heard about it on the radio, and watched it on tv. Despite this, our brains want to deny that it’s actually happening. We think about it for a little while before it gets pushed back in our brain. While we still try to eat healthy, pick up our trash, and conserve water, preventing climate change falls lower on our priority list. But if we keep reading about it, it may climb a bit higher. Also, another good idea is to try and see the affects of climate change yourself. For example, the beach in my town has been flooding for the past couple of years, something it’s never done before. Because of this, when the water receded a lot of the beach was lost. I still enjoy my beach days, but they are always tinged with a bit of sadness and nostalgia.
This is my beach during the flood. As you can see, the water is all the way to the steps, not too far from the trailer park.
Among other reasons besides this, I have decided to participate in the Toronto Climate Strike on Friday the 27th. There was another climate strike held on September 20th, and an estimated 4 million people across the world took part. Seeing those numbers, it’s pretty remarkable to know that this came about because of a young girl named Greta Thunberg. Last year, she made a sign and protested alone in front of the Swedish Parliament buildings. Now, she’s a renowned climate change activist who’s met with Barack Obama and spoken in front of Congress. She’s truly an inspiration, and definitely one of my role models.
Participating in a climate strike is a great way to get the attention of the politicians who are trying to deny that climate change is real. Mainly, the 45th president of the United States of America, who has made several tweets like this:
If you can’t make it to a bigger strike, lots of smaller towns are holding their own strikes. And if you would prefer not to march, you can share your support online, inform friends and family, or do something to help the earth, like riding a bike to work, carpooling, or using reusable straws. If we all do something, no matter how small, we can be part of the change. Besides, if we ruin this planet, there’s nowhere else for us to go.