Notre Dame
High School

Lawrenceville, NJ
School Life
The Voice

The Fight for Environmental Reforms

Rachel Doan
“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” said Greta Thunberg, the 16 year old environmental activist, at the 2019 UN climate action summit in New York. Greta Thunberg has recently been a name that everyone is using to describe activism for environmental issues in the world. 
What will happen if environmental continue to be ignored?
“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” said Greta Thunberg, the 16 year old environmental activist, at the 2019 UN climate action summit in New York. Greta Thunberg has recently been a name that everyone is using to describe activism for environmental issues in the world. 

However environmental reforms and problems did not just awake in the 2010s, this ongoing issue gained attention in the 1960s. Author and activist Rachel Carson ignited controversy with her book Silent Spring in 1962, this book expressed concerns for the bird population. Inspiration struck Carson, who was experiencing a spring where the birds did not migrate to the farms. Eventually major reforms such as the Water Quality Act and the Environmental Protection Agency were formed. 

But as Carson spotlighted these issues, who is fighting and publicizing these issues now? Youth activists have begun taking the reigns of the environmentalist fight.

In the U.S., 
Isra Hirsi at the age of 16 years old grew up being a social justice activist, since attention has been drawn to the Minnesota Pipeline Crisis and the water contamination issues in Flint, Michigan, Hirsi has been an active fighter for climate change. Hirsi even helped start a branch of climate strike for youths in the U.S., she was inspired by Greta Thunberg. 

Autumn Peltier of 15 years old, was influenced by a toxic water sign to join the fight for environmental rights. This young Canadian has already spoken at the United Nations, to address the problems of safe water for Canada. 

Greta Thunberg started out as a 15 year old girl who skipped school for a day, she would  be protesting for climate change reforms to be made in Sweden for as long as the day would allow her to. In 2018 her small strike then gradually rose and became a regularly scheduled strike every Friday called “Fridays for Future”. Her classmates and other students began to participate. One after one the student striking population was growing, and according to Reuters more than 17,000 students and more than 30 countries where inspired by this teen. She would influence activists such as Peltier to continue this battle at young age. Thunberg even worked with Hirsi to start up the weekly climate strike in the U.S. and to spread knowledge of why this is important. But Thunberg has not just been talking with the people of her generation. At the 2019 UN climate action summit in New York, she spoke to all leaders at the conference. Thunberg even claimed that these adults had stolen millions of childhood’s including her own, with false promises and creating problems for the generations below them. Thunberg has even recently turned down the Nordic Council's environmental award, the takeaway from this, people fighting for this issue do not need awards, they need results.

What will happen if we do not enact major change? Studies from NASA show that the temperatures will rise, growing seasons will last longer, droughts will increase, and many other problems may occur dealing with the safety of any beings occupying earth. 

Carson’s literature will be taught in classrooms and continue to inspire many activists like Hirsi, Peltier, and Thunberg. With these small sustainable changes and influential children on earth, sustainability will become a priority, and the destiny for a healthy and safe earth will depend on the beings living on it.
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Notre Dame High School

Located on 100 beautiful acres in Central New Jersey, Notre Dame High School, founded in 1957, is a college preparatory school for grades 9 - 12, preparing young men and women for lives of purpose, built upon a foundation of Catholic faith, with a commitment to academics, co-curricular activities and service to others.