The consequences of global climate change are easily evolving, and it impacts on the younger generations in experiencing severe weather.
In Kansas City, some young adults are not sympathetic to this exclusive threat to the planet. They are boxing impervious gas cars, using clothes lines instead of the dryer, even considering that they do not have children. And they are politically active.
“This is a question for me when everything about my lifestyle changed as a millennium,” said public transit worker Sierra West, 28, who went free from cars and moved from home to studio apartment in Kansas City.
It also joined the Sunrise Movement, an attempt to fight climate change as a national priority. The climate strike movement plans September 20.
Emily Hurley, 33, a public health researcher and assistant professor at the Children's Mercy Hospital, drives a hybrid vehicle and takes shorter showers after visiting South Africa which is drought south two years ago.
But she realizes that there are individual efforts to reduce carbon consumption in her “drop in the bucket.” So she went into the Sunrise Movement and Kansas City Climate Lobby attempt to push Congress for national solutions.
“We want the government to see action to help us as a country of fossil fuels and to get our energy from cleaner sources,” Hurley said.
Cole Strickland, 27, who works in construction and is training to be a certified solar installer, said it is difficult to make changes to an individual lifestyle; he can't get an electric car, and it would take two hours to work his bike. So he also chose to participate in Citizen Climate Lobby.
“I hear about climate change every day, and I think it's about me doing something about it,” he said.
These young people say they always think about the problem, and it is a cause for concern and frustration. They do not blame the older generations of people who were without doubt but believe that there is no longer time for refusal or delay.
“We can see that temperatures are rising and that we have regular heat waves,” said the West.
She pointed out that the report of the Weather Channel Kansas City No. 5 out of 25 US cities affected by heat, drought and flooding.
Hurley said that the time to tackle the problem is fast approaching, as mentioned in the 2018 report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“This 12-year window to do something before most of these effects we see is irreversible,” she said.
With a very challenging human race, it is worthwhile for these young people to have children.
“I know people who choose not to have children, and I am one of those who are staying out of it,” the West said. “We have an uncertain future that we are dealing with.”
Strickland, who is single, said that if he were married, he decided for himself and each other. But it is addressing the idea of introducing more children into an over-population world and is open to the idea that a child would be taken as an alternative.
Hurley said she is hoping that children will someday her, but this could be a generation that does not get a better world than the previous one.
“That's why I'm involved at the moment,” she said, “because I want to have kids and I want to give them a clay that they can support.”
Hurley and Strickland encourage people to participate through Citizen's Climate Lobby.
In particular, they recommend support for the Energy Innovation Act and Carbon Dividend. It requires a carbon charge that would encourage movement to cleaner energy sources, and a dividend will be paid back to the public to offset these costs.
The West now said that it is a time of hope, not despair.
“Every crisis can be given an opportunity,” she said.
It develops a world in which green technology can improve lives and pull people out of poverty but said that it will require mass movement requiring corporations to stop their dependence on fossil fuels.
“We are uniting young people in a movement that says we cannot tackle the climate crisis alone,” she said. “We have to face it together.”
Sierra West, Cole Strickland and Emily Hurley spoke to KCUR 89.3 on a recent issue of Up to Date. You can listen to the episode here.
Lynn Horsley is a freelance journalist and a great reporter for The Kansas City Star. Follow her on Twitter @LynnHorsley.
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