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LETTER: Listen to what the children have to say on climate change

High schools from the St. John's region gathered en masse to join an international movement against climate change on Friday morning.
In March High schools from the St. John's region gathered en masse to join an international movement against climate change. - Joe Gibbons

I’ve been listening to the voices of children, out of school and on the radio, to remind us about climate change and the danger it poses to their future on this planet.

They are full of hope, and forcing themselves to believe that we adults are listening, that

we are paying attention. I sometimes fear that most of us will hold our hands over our ears, not wishing to hear the bad news.

Some of us still consider pollution to be unsightly. Plastic shopping bags fluttering in the trees offend our aesthetic sensibilities.

What is more unsightly is the sight of hundreds of North African refugees, forced off their farmland by the encroaching Sahara desert, being thrown into the sea from capsizing boats, and drowning in the Mediterranean. Just as unsightly is the sight of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcoming the melting of the North Polar icecap, because it will offer new opportunities for oil-drilling and shorter trade-routes for international shipping.

The children are being warned by some adults that they should stay in school and study, rather than skip classes to protest our lack of meaningful progress in controlling our carbon emissions.

I hope they will, on the contrary, be encouraged for their efforts, and given some recognition by school authorities for the message they are spreading. I sincerely hope there are no science teachers who neglect to explain the principles and perils of global warming

and climate change to their students.

Unfortunately for all of us humans, here on our little planet, the politicians have delivered decision-making into the hands of the corporations, and corporations do not listen to children. Nor do they listen to climate change science. They listen to investors and accountants, who also do not seek advice from civilians, young or old. It is the children who will have the unenviable task of trying to reduce the planet’s combined carbon emission, and of rescuing whatever they can of the species that live here.

If we don’t listen to the children, then they will learn a difficult lesson from us. They will draw the inevitable conclusion that, in spite of all our assurances of love and devotion, we do not really care whether they live or die. They will discover that, compared to our convenience and comfort, they really don’t matter.

I’d hate to have to condemn my own grandchildren to that level of cold-hearted rejection, and I’m sure most of us would feel the same, if we just informed ourselves of the facts about climate change.

Ed Healy

Marystown


Related story:

St. John’s high school students join international protest against climate change


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