This article is part of our “blog series” — written by youth, for youth, by members of our very own VSBSC executive team. We hope you enjoy reading these as much as we did writing them and stay tuned for future posts!
By Katarina Krivokapic
In 2018, the United Nations released an alarming report asserting that humanity has less than 20 years to cap global warming within a limit of 1.5°C in order to avoid catastrophic consequences. The effects of climate change are already evident – rising sea levels, unseasonably long and severe droughts and floods, and in turn, human displacement and suffering. These devastating results of human activity – the likes of which are only beginning to be experienced by life on this planet – begs the question: who is to blame?
In 2015, Scientific American released a disturbing article alleging that the energy and fuel conglomerate ExxonMobil – yes, the same company responsible for the catastrophic Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1991 – knew about the dire effects of climate change as far back as 1977 – and continued their destructive practices. In fact, the corporation has been described by the New York Times as “the biggest climate change denier” – a fitting epithet earned for their multimillion lobbying efforts.
It is estimated that approximately 50% of the world’s man–made greenhouse gasses were released into the atmosphere after 1988 – only 32 years ago. This statistic makes me wonder if we would be on a different trajectory today if rules were in place to police fossil fuel multinationals such as Exxon that were, and continue to be, complicit in the destruction of our environment.
With every passing year, we are closer to exceeding Earth’s safe temperature threshold and, in turn, further from salvaging life as we know it. Although a lot of pressure is placed on the individual and family to “save the planet”, initiatives such as reusable straws are a drop in the bucket with little to no quantifiable change in the realm of human carbon emissions.
It is important now more than ever to pressure our government into creating long term solutions and legislation to hold predatory conglomerates accountable for the damage they are causing to our environment and way of life. Aggressive and timely alternative energy solutions are essential if we intend on keeping our planet’s temperature increase within 1.5°C to ensure it is safe for us and those who will come after us.