Editorial - Age divide on our future

The vision we have both of the world today, and how it will look in the future, is most certainly influenced by the date on our birth certificates.

Nowhere is that more dramatically seen than the seemingly growing chasm regarding what youth see as the danger of climate change to their future, while many adults, in particular those in government seem to think the change is more myth than fact.

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It was just this past Friday when more than 200 students gathered in front of the Saskatchewan Legislature in Regina calling for government action on climate change.

Greta Thunberg a 16-year-old from Sweden has inspired the movement having protested inaction on climate change since August.

The students involved – there was a protest in Saskatoon as well in our province – want to make looking after our environment to protect their future to be a priority of governments today.

As one student was quoted in Regina; ‘there are no jobs and no economy on a dead planet.”

It is a stark vision, but uncannily spot on in terms of what the outcome of inaction now could be.

And, the climate is changing.

It was the recent conclusion of a recent United Nations UN environment report on the Arctic that the Arctic is now locked into what is being described as a destructive degree of climate change.

The report describes scenarios where Arctic winter temperatures increase by three to five degrees by 2050 compared to 1986-2005 levels, and by five to nine degrees by 2080, and they peg the changes of occurring regardless of what measures are taken to halt global greenhouse gas emissions.

Back to the students concerns where they suggested several steps individuals can take to be part of change; including not taking as many airplane trips, choosing to use hybrid vehicles, and to install solar panels on homes.

By contrast governments like the one in Saskatchewan are championing the idea of more pipelines to feed what they see as a crucial oil-based economy.

Semi-truck convoys and protests have been held in this province and Alberta supportive of that vision.

Ultimately, there seems a definite disconnect currently between what many adults see as crucial infrastructure to continued pumping oil for its immediate economic stimulus, versus a youth voice calling for caution and change to offset what could be dramatic environmental change.

Certainly it is adult voices government will generally lend the greatest credence too, in large part because it is the adult who votes.

However, we all owe it to our children, and generations beyond, to do what we can to ensure a future exists. The voice of youth is reminding us of that responsibility, if we are only wise enough to listen.

© Copyright Yorkton This Week

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