When I first learned about climate change, it wasn’t from textbooks or world leaders. It was from a teenager.
I was in sixth grade, sitting in my middle school class and watching Greta Thunberg deliver her speech at the UN climate summit. Living in suburban New Jersey has been fortunate for me that I have never felt threatened by the effects of climate change in my community. However, Greta’s words were enough to pierce my bubble of blissful ignorance: “We are at the beginning of a mass extinction and you can only speak of fairy tales of wealth and eternal economic growth? How dare you.”
In 2019, while watching this blurry YouTube video, I began to pay close attention to the discussion of climate change and politics. Along with like-minded people across the country, I have taken part in Friday and Climate Strikes for Future, attended protests championing a variety of solutions, posted climate infographics on social media and everyone and everyone who has contributed , asked to speak to him. threats from climate change. However, the more activism has been helpful in educating those around me on the issue, the clearer it has become that the only path to real change can be through politics.
When I first heard about the Anti-Inflation Act, I was skeptical. After all, it looked a lot like the Build Back Better Act of 2021, which failed to pass and shed much hope for substantive future climate legislation. However, on Tuesday, August 16, President Biden was able to enact the Anti-Inflation Act, fulfilling part of his domestic political agenda. The package is bringing about major changes in parts of the US economy, putting nearly $370 billion into the energy and climate industries, imposing minimal taxes on large companies and capping drug prices. The law is also intended to slow inflation by reducing the government deficit.
For me, the bill was a victory, not only because of its potential impact, but also because it represents a change in the way lawmakers think. Climate change is a problem and needs to be prioritized. The Anti-Inflation Act promotes the historic refusal, the delay strategy and economic model to put climate change at the top of the agenda and against all odds finally take real action.
It’s a victory that can be credited to the work of academics, lawmakers, politicians and senior activists, but especially the youth climate movement.
Youth activists have spent years urging older generations to make climate change a priority. The Anti-Inflation Act is a step in the right direction as it marks investment in clean energy incentives. While it’s perfectly fine to celebrate its passage, the work to be done is not over and Democrats shouldn’t pat themselves on the back for this bill. It is clear that there were agreements and the budget allocated is only a fraction of what was originally proposed. Of even greater concern, the bill will promote both renewable energy and the fossil fuel industry. It’s just not sustainable. Eliminating fossil fuel projects completely is the only way to fully transition to a greener future.
“Youth activists have spent years urging older generations to make climate change a priority.”
To eliminate emissions by 2050, Congress must end fossil fuel pollution. That’s a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time, and the Anti-Inflation Act (passed by a modest margin against strong Republican opposition) only scratches the surface of the politically difficult legislation we have to pass over the next few years. Will have to do
» Read more: Change the subject for action on climate change
Every Earth Day, for as long as I can remember, my friends and I have participated in activities that allow us to appreciate the beauty of the earth. While it started as a fun tradition, over the years the countdown to climate catastrophe has become unmissable. Every IPCC report I have read confirms that the catastrophe happening around us is a real problem and requires action in the form of systematic change. As I watched the conflicts over the years with global climate deals and negotiations, I realized it was time for the US to take a leadership role in the fight against climate change.
According to a recent study in the journal Science, “Children born today are seven times more likely to experience extreme climate events than those born in 1960. I refuse to believe that elected officials have a duty to protect them. The future ends here. That’s why activists like me will always be here, reminding our administration of the importance of accountability.
Sriya Tallapragada NJ. K is a high school student at Pingree School in Basking Ridge