Young people need leaders to end the environmental pandemic

The Covid pandemic gave us a temporary glimpse into apocalyptic living.

Day to day life as we knew it ended in March 2020 as we stared into the face of the most serious and scary public health crisis in living memory.

It forced unprecedented changes in our behaviour.

Yet global force delivered vaccinations as the solution.

The climate crisis is no less scary and necessitates similarly swift and robust measures to combat.

Unless we rapidly reduce carbon emissions, we risk not a temporary but permanent state of apocalyptic living.

Just like how Covid can be combatted by technological medical advancement, following the science, and innovation, so too can climate change.

The global health of the planet demands world leaders react with the same level of urgency posed by a pandemic virus. Climate change is indeed mother nature’s pandemic.

My generation’s security, prosperity and very existence rest on their shoulders.

95-year-old Sir David Attenborough’s impassioned plea to COP26 was not about the generation in the room, rather the young people watching at home or protesting outside.

He talked about not some imagined future generation, but young people alive and here today.

We are, and will be, the people most affected by climate change.

The perpetual slogan of politicians is that each generation should be afforded more opportunity and progress than the preceding one.

Unless world leaders come together in Glasgow with a serious and committed agreement, my generation will be fundamentally worse off.

Young people will drive the change, we need world leaders to give us the keys.

For the twenty-two years I have been alive, I have lived through the hottest two decades ever recorded.

Hotter than any of the first seventy years of Sir David Attenborough’s life.

But for Sir David Attenborough’s time on this world, he has witnessed the most terrible decline to the climate, perhaps more first-hand than anyone.

If the decline taken place in his life were replicated in mine, the home I grew up in Orkney will be under water by the time I retire.

This scares me.

A Glasgow agreement cannot be more hot air.

A concrete agreement on renewables for developed and developing nations, proper regulation of corporate polluters and serious net zero commitments must be the very least agreed by leaders on the Clyde.

They are there not for them. They must act seriously for the young people alive today and those living tomorrow.

In the words of Sir David Attenborough, we can turn this tragedy into a triumph.

Young people have the ambition and desire to turn the clock on climate change.

Young people sacrificed a huge part of their life in fighting the pandemic, it’s time for the current political generation to fight for us.

Young people queued up for vaccines to help protect us and those around us – now it’s time for serious climate action to protect the natural environment, safeguarding and securing the future.

The Glasgow agreement must be the vaccination the world needs to reduce the climate fever and end the environmental pandemic.

* Jack Norquoy is the Scottish Liberal Democrats Spokesperson for Young People

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  • Steve Trevethan 13th Nov '21 - 4:06pm

    Thank you for an excellent and much needed article!
    Here is a cartoon to go with it.

  • Sadly I don’t think you will get what you are looking for, there will be some progress and some compromise, too much compromise to achieve what you want. By the time your generation is truly in a position to do anything but protest 1.50 will be dead and their life style, chances and expectency will be significantly impacted.

  • Steve Trevethan 14th Nov '21 - 9:53am

    That you have not had more responses is disappointing as this is such a critical matter.
    Here is an interesting and, possibly encouraging, article.

    Might it be possible to improve matters by persuading the L. D. party away from Neoliberal economics and towards Modern Monetary Theory?

    It may also be encouraging that there is an indication that the U.S.A might be moving away from its strategic policy of World domination which might encourage more outbreaks of less polluting peace. (5/11/21)

  • Your desire for rapid and effective action is clear, technology will help but is unlikely to solve the problem without some lifestyle change. What are you willing to give up or never have Jack? I don’t drive, don’t fly and have learnt to live without a fridge easier than one might think.

    Also I challenge your statement that ‘ young people sacrificed a huge part of their life in fighting COVID’ really…how sacrifice implies an element of choice. Some young people who were essential workers may have taken on a higher risk of catching COVID by continuing to work during lock down. But my experience of most young people during, including my own two teenagers and their peers was that they were being hard done by and rarely missed an opportunity to let people know.
    Likewise ‘young people qeued up for vaccines’ again some young people may have but vaccine hesitancy was highest in the 18 – 29 age group. Anecdotally whilst commuting on the train younger people were far more likely than other age groups to not where face masks and ignore social distancing when taking seats, even when ticket inspectors politely asked them to comply with the guidance.
    The world should try to meet the 1.5 target, but not because of anything young people collectively did during or are doing during the pandemic.

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