Our Uncommon Future
Fifteen-year-old Ghazal Thiruvengadam writes about her thoughts on the future
Recurrent epidemics. Climate change. Mass extinction. These are a few of the scary scenarios that the future holds for us. As Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist said, “Why should I be studying for a future that soon will be no more?” The recently held UN Summit on Climate Change in which Greta participated, inspired a series of protests across the globe. Young people are embracing the reality of our future, as we have realized that it is our lives that hang in the balance.
Until now, people have been encouraged to introduce small adjustments to our lifestyles. Some cities, such as Bangalore, have banned the usage of plastic bags in stores. This should be done on a larger scale. Furthermore, our entire economic system works against nature. The gross domestic product of a nation increases when activities that negatively affect the climate are pursued. As the next generation, we must put in place a system in which economic growth occurs in parallel with environmentally beneficial actions. In a world that is so economically oriented, this is the only way to solve multiple crises without forcing countries to make their economies suffer. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had faced a dilemma when it came to choosing the environment over the economy, but he sticks to the belief that he can do both simultaneously.
Scientists and researchers at space organizations such as NASA, have looked into Mars’ habitability, in the event that all hope is lost for Earth. Research shows that patches of Mars could be made habitable by placing thin layers of silica aerogel on/above the surface of Mars. This would block UV rays as well as melt ice to form water. According to Robin Wordsworth and his team at Harvard University, migrating to Mars could be a real possibility in the near future.
Funding for space organizations has always been high, but we must avoid investing in another trip around the moon. If we put our money in the right places, we will be able to solve some of these crises and continue to live on our planet instead of moving the entire human population to Mars, which should be a last resort.
To conclude, our generation offers fresh perspectives and solutions that should be heard. Greta Thunberg blamed the older generations for putting this upon us in her famous “How dare you” speech. While I agree that it is unfair that we will have to face the consequences of the previous generation’s failure to take action, we should see this as an opportunity. We must approach this issue optimistically and not out of anger or obligation. After conquering the largest threat to our existence, I will have faith in our species to solve other crises, such as how to feed our population, which will swell to 9.8 billion in 2050. As a 15- year-old who has planned out her life from a young age, having an uncertain future is a deep concern of mine, as well as of many in my generation.