[OPINION] Closing the gap: A 15-year-old's call to end the climate crisis
The climate crisis is called a crisis for a reason. It's no trivial task trying to undo all the things humanity has done to damage this planet. Most of us take pride in saying that we have indeed begun the process of cleansing the Earth, but are we truly trying our best? I'd like to think we aren't, or at least not yet.
Picture an empty plastic bottle in your hand. It's light, isn't it? It wouldn't hurt someone if you threw it at them. Now picture a million of them, lined up side by side. How might a million bottles do you any harm? How long would such a trail of bottles even be? It's hard to imagine these things because not so many people have seen a million plastic bottles all at once. But that is the dilemma: we cannot even begin to picture the mess we are putting ourselves in. A million new plastic bottles are bought every minute, almost all of which are thrown within the same day, yet hardly anyone can see how much trouble that's causing us. It's hard to act against a problem when we barely know its full extent.
In a sense, that's what's wrong with half of the world. They cannot assess the gravity of the situation simply because they have not experienced the repercussions of their actions. Throw away a plastic bag in Canada, and it's bound to end up somewhere in the Philippines. Somehow, first-world countries don't (yet) know what it's like to be swimming in a blackened river full of plastic, but they aren't the only ones to blame.
Consider the other half of the world, which does experience the harsher side of things. In India, the Ganges River flows with an eerie blackness, which Indians know as the river's only color. They use it to bathe, and to the Hindus it is sacred nonetheless. In China, some children grow up never knowing that the sky gleams a blue hue and is never gray. The people living in these countries were born into a world where they are complete strangers to the problems already surrounding them. They experience the shifts in weather all the scientists are talking about, but they just don't know that something wrong is actually happening. Their ignorance renders them incapable of acting against these.
Now, doesn't it seem obvious how everyone can try harder, and why we still aren't doing the best we possibly can? The first world is unaware of the urgency of the problem, while the third world is ignorant of what is taking place. There is a huge disconnect between these two sides, and this creates a hindrance to solving the global problem. Bridging the gap between the opposite halves of the world is no easy task, but it's the key to getting both sides to do more than what they already are. The climate crisis is very serious, and humanity cannot face such a huge problem when it is divided; we have to find ways to work together and accomplish something greater than what anyone could have done alone.
Fortunately, the media is capable of spreading awareness, and I cannot count how many businessmen have had their minds changed after watching a clip featuring the have-nots on the other side of the world. The spread of the internet has also allowed quality education to spread with it; now, even people from the farthest corners of the world can learn about the afflictions of this planet and how to act against them. Awareness helps us understand what's plaguing us, and it can help us know the best way to conquer these problems.
If you were alive back in the '70s, you might vaguely remember smallpox still being a thing. It's amazing how we, humanity, were able to work together to eradicate a disease that has plagued us for millennia. We all took preventive measures, and awareness was spread. Not a single person was left uninformed of what was happening and what everyone was trying to do. If we could only do the same thing today, then it really isn't impossible to solve the climate crisis. After all, it still isn't too late to fix the Earth.
Alone, we can do some things, but together, when all are willing and all are optimistic, we find the drive that pushes us to do the best we can to get the most of what we want. After all, do we not feel motivated to act when everyone around us is doing the same thing? We can only say humanity is truly doing its best once every single person is doing theirs. – Rappler.com
Mo David is currently a Grade 9 student enrolled as a scholar of the Philippine Science High School Main Campus. He wishes to pursue a course in computer science in the near future.