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Julia Rial

Posted on June 10, 2022 at 2:37 pm

Julia Rial

As the Earth’s temperature rises, our lives will continue to change. The threat of climate change extends its consequences to our communities, economies, and ecosystems. Our home state of Delaware will suffer most directly from rising sea levels and increased storm frequencies. These are only two examples of how our beloved coastal community could be indefinitely changed and, unfortunately, there are many others. You may expect me to worry about these detrimental effects. You may expect me to fear the erosion of our beaches and the flooding of our towns, which could potentially uproot my family and many others. While these events may sadden me, I am not afraid. I am not afraid because I am certain that the youth of Delaware will succeed in addressing and combating the threat of local climate change. I am confident in my generation’s passion, rage, and innate empathy. I am inspired by my peers who take it upon themselves to solve the problems left by their parents and grandparents. If we want to hold our legislators accountable during this ongoing climate crisis, we must first focus on mobilizing the local youth.

Now, education is vital. Students must be aware of state issues affecting our climate and environment. Thankfully, we live in a day and age where there is no shortage of technological advances and developments. We can use this to our full advantage. Through social media, we can connect with others to spread awareness. I am a co-founder of Extinction Rebellion Youth Delaware, a subdivision of a global climate action group. We use our social media platforms to educate the public on local environmental issues, including reoccurring fish kills in Rehoboth Bay due to eutrophication. Events like these go unnoticed due to a lack of public awareness and education. Within our communities, there is an absence of information necessary to garner public support for increased environmental policy. If we can expand our communication and create methods to educate the youth, more and more people will be concerned with the health of our environment. An educated society is vital in resolving the climate crisis.

If we are to demand bold climate action and accountability, the youth must first be given a seat at the table. Our state legislations are filled with generations who have neglected the health of our planet over profit. My generation has been failed by our parents’ decisions and our politicians’ inability to take meaningful, legal action in response to climate change. We have been given the responsibility to save our planet before life can no longer be sustained. We will have to work towards sustainability long after our parents and grandparents are gone. It is up to us to make a difference; it is up to us to change such an accustomed way of life. If we are to do this, the youth must be able to communicate clearly with our local governments. We must establish an unfaltering way for students to voice their concerns and opinions regarding environmental health. We should not have to rally before the legislative hall and hope that we make a difference. We must ensure that we are represented by our leaders. Our nation was raised on the principles of democracy and the power of the governed, and we must demand that our voices be heard.

Several months ago, I attended a climate justice rally in Georgetown. When I arrived, I noticed a large number of students and consequently, a lack of adults. As we held up our signs and listened to our peers demand action, I became overwhelmed with a sense of relief and belonging. At that moment, our message became clear. The youth of our state is not going anywhere. We will continue to advocate for change and challenge our politicians until we are old enough to fill their seats. I belong to a generation filled with rage in response to decades of neglect. I belong to a generation of empathy and passion that is so unlike that of our parents and grandparents. I belong to the generation that will heal our planet. I do not fear the level of difficulty that this will take, nor am I overwhelmed with responsibility. We are ready and we will succeed.

Thank you.

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