Skip navigation
Share via:

Pitch

I've always been the most inspired by people's words and hoped this speech might inspire one or two people, as well.


Description

Summary


Is this proposal for a practice or a project?

Not sure


What actions do you propose?

What is this world we’re living in?
This world that is so beautiful. I look around and I see mountains, fields, trees and the sea. I see colorful little birds, elephants, lions and whales that are impressing in just their presence, and tiny butterflies and bees that are able to make a difference despite how insignificantly small they might seem. I see a variety of people of all ages and colors, from completely different cultures that are coming together; a variety that we are only just now starting to accept and embrace.
And I want to shut my eyes and forget this beauty, because I know it won’t exist for much longer.
What is this world we’re living in?
When I was little, I was told I could do anything. Be anything. Go anywhere I wanted, be successful if I worked hard and create a future for myself that I look forward to living.
But now that I am 20 years old, just graduated from school and should have the whole world in front of me, I am afraid. I am afraid because I know that I can’t create the kind of future I want to create and because I don’t know how many generations this earth will still see. I look at my nephews that are now 5 and 1 years old and I wonder what their future will look like. And I am disappointed because I know the kind of world I want to leave for them and their generation won’t exist anymore.
What is this world we’re living in?
This giant word that has become a metaphor for our impending doom seems to be ever-present. You hear it everywhere you go; you see it on the news, on the streets, in every supermarket. It is something you can’t unsee, something you can’t ignore.
Climate change.
It has become the world problem of our time. And yet, its connotation is so off putting. People sigh, shake their heads and switch topics. They wave off those “environmental activists”, those “vegans”, those “idiots that believe everything they’re told”. When I go through my social media and see a post about climate change, a good dozen of the comments underneath laugh at the stupidity of everyone who doesn’t admit that it’s fake. Fake news, as some would say. Or alternative facts.
Fact: The carbon dioxide concentration in our atmosphere is the highest in 3 billion years.
Fact: 11 percent of our population are already affected by climate change (e.g. droughts, floods, heat waves)
Fact: If we continue at our current rate we can expect temperatures and sea levels that will cause famine, mass extinctions and flooded cities, such as NYC.
Fact: Despite what the oil and gas industry, and the American extremely-friendly-with-those-industries-president tell you, climate change is very real and there is a great amount of evidence to prove it.
How do I know? How can I be so sure that I’m not being fooled?
I call it logical thinking. Weighing both sides. We have the side of scientists and scientific organization that have no reason to fabricate this whole story and get little profit out of their reports and warnings, and we have the side of the oil and gas industry that would greatly suffer or even be destroyed if climate change was real. Now, who is the better option to side with?
It scared me how many people are out there that claim climate change is fake. Even more so: that protest against it. And it scares me even more that one of those people is the president of the United States of America.
When climate change became public knowledge in the 80s, there was no movement against it. Of course, the oil and gas industry hadn’t yet started campaigning against climate change. But back then, it wasn’t an option to be against it. Everybody saw the problem and realized that we needed to take action.
And if I look back at the attitude back then and compare it to today, I can’t believe that the mindset of people seems to have changed so much. Because back in the 80s, it also wasn’t an option to not do anything. And today, that seems to be all we do.
The way I like to compare it is by picturing a train. All of us are on that train. We are traveling and all is well, but then we see this wall. A wall, right on our tracks. If we crash into that wall, it would be a massacre. No one would walk away from this accident without serious damage.
And what are the passengers of this train doing? They are arguing about whether this wall is real or not. Some people are discussing whether we could find a way around the wall. Some others are saying that this wall is perfectly normal. Or that we should just wait, maybe it will go away.

I’m seeing this wall and I want to scream: “WHY IS NOBODY PULLING THE BREAK?!?!?”
And that is exactly what I have to say about climate change.
We are not talking about a small thing here. We are talking about our existence, about the existence of our planet and about the question how much longer that will be. It isn’t even IF our planet will be destroyed, it is WHEN. We are talking about our children and their future. Humanity has existed for so long. This world with all its beauty has existed for so long. And we are just throwing that away? By not doing anything?
We have known about climate change for 30 years. Thirty years. And yet, nothing has changed. The earth’s temperature is still rising. There is still no future for us.
I look at all those people that claim it isn’t real and I wonder: “how can you believe that?” or “how can you live with yourself?”. Why is it okay to treat the planet the way we do and then leave it to the future generations with a shrug saying “Sorry”?
I think the reason some people don’t want to believe it is because they don’t want to take responsibility. Because that’s easy, right? Looking to the authorities and saying: “Yeah, you screwed up.”
We have to understand that each and every one of us contributes. We are all responsible together. And in the end, the only way to stop it is by working together.
That seems to be a difficult concept. Working together. I mean, who comes up with that, right?
You hear politicians bragging: “Well, our country is the only one that has fulfilled our climate goals” or “Our country has invested more money into climate research than any other country” or “Our country has the most solar panels.”
Are we talking about children or politicians?
This isn’t a competition! How is it a success to beat other countries in saving the world?
A single country isn’t able to do that. We have to understand that we must lay aside our differences and disputes and once, just once, for this one thing, come together. As one world.
The saddest part is that once, in 1989, that has happened. We were once so close to saving the world. In 1989, there was a climate conference with more than 60 countries. They wanted to establish an agreement, rules, the groundwork to a concept for climate politics that would apply to all countries. This would have been the chance. But it failed. Because of one person from one country.
The thing that this shows, though, is that it is in fact possible. All the politicians say that it isn’t that simple, that it will take time to make changes. That is true if a country fights for itself.
Because if one country were to pass laws and thereby restrict their industries, they wouldn’t just slow down their countries economy, costing lots of people their jobs, it would also be essentially ineffective, because all those companies would just move to a country with less strict rules and continue polluting our environment from there.
That’s why the only way to make a change is together.
But that is possible. It is something we can achieve. It is even something we could have achieved a long time ago.
If it weren’t for the fact that economic growth, money and power were always considered even more important. Just look around. We have heads of states that claim climate change is fake. We have heads of states that simply refuse to do anything. I live in a country that promises to make changes. But we don’t, not really. Despite building tons of solar panels and windmills, the coal industry is still our number one source of energy and our environmental minister refuses to pass laws, because we can work with the industry on a friendly basis.
Still, they promise us we can do it. We can become the first country in the world that is completely “green”. Great. How wonderful. Such an achievement. That will save the world, for sure.
My point is: those people in charge of our politics are the conductor of the train. They are the only ones that can pull the brake.
It is awfully scary that they haven’t yet. That they seem to have put our economy before our survival and keep telling us they’ll change just so we keep quiet.
But as I said earlier: it is awfully easy to point to others for the blame. Because if they don’t decide to do anything themselves, we have to. We have to collectively make that choice and make them pull the brake. Because do you just want to sit back and wait for the crash to happen? I don’t.
And of course there are things that we can all do individually, things we can change in our everyday lives, such as taking the train instead of the car or buying foods and products that are sustainable. But that means a lot less if the industries don’t change anything at all and just keep going – because that is what they’re doing, no matter how many times they are telling you they are putting sustainability first. Saying that is easy. And believing that is comfortable. It’s just not the truth.
We are past the point of switching to an e-car, going vegan and hoping that will save the planet. Change now means change for everyone. Drastic change. And then hoping that it isn’t too late.
The young generation has already recognized that. Children, teenagers and young adults everywhere are going out onto the streets, protesting. If our youngest generation is already taking action into their own hands and sacrificing their time and education for a topic that should, with all common sense, not be a discussion anymore, nor a choice; if they are seeing what this means for their future and have decided to fight for it, because nobody else seems willing to leave them a world that they can account for, then we have really gone to far. If this is how far we have come, we have messed up.
And that is all the more reason to stop, turn around and take the path that is right, the only one that we can answer for.

Climate change is not going to go away. This wall in front of our train is not going to go away. It is our choice whether we stop it or let it happen.
I have chosen for myself. But that doesn’t mean much if everyone else chooses differently.
Because if we decide to change something, and it pains me to acknowledge that this is still a choice we have to make, we all have to make compromises. This won’t be an easy process for anyone, not anymore.
I just hope that enough people recognize that those compromises are worth it.
And I hope that I underestimate humanity.


Who will take these actions?


Where will these actions be taken?


In addition, specify the country or countries where these actions will be taken.

No country selected


Country 2

No country selected


Country 3

No country selected


Country 4

No country selected


Country 5

No country selected


Impact/Benefits


What impact will these actions have on greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?


What are other key benefits?


Costs/Challenges


What are the proposal’s projected costs?


Timeline


About the author(s)


Related Proposals


References