Novel infectious diseases such as COVID-19 have resulted from environmental destruction and the consequent increase in contact between people and wild animals. Moreover, even after the pandemic ends, young people cannot help but live in an era of the climate crisis which is also the result of excessive industrial activities.
This July, Luisa Neubauer, Greta Thunberg and other young people called for immediate efforts for a decarbonized economy in the "Open Letter and Demands to EU and Global Leaders." These young people asked adults to face the climate emergency. They wrote, "even though you might have the option of ignoring the climate crisis, that is not an option for us ― for your children. Right now, there is no place on earth where children face a future in a safe environment."
This year many areas in Korea, China and Japan were damaged by heavy rain. Also, in Siberia, the heat wave occurred. Climate change has led to heat waves, floods, droughts and wildfires around the world. These phenomena have resulted from global warming due to greenhouse gas emissions.
To reduce global warming, we must drastically cut the use of fossil fuel. For that, we need to stop overconsumption and decrease industrial activities which are not essential in life.
Nevertheless, Korea's greenhouse gas emissions have increased every year. This reality will threaten young people's future. We don't have much time left. If we don't take action now, it's too late. Greenhouse gases, once emitted, can stay in the atmosphere for decades to centuries, thus affecting the future climate. Our current actions decide the future of our children, nieces, nephews and grandchildren.
Therefore, we need to support policies for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and vote for politicians who have strong will to curb the worsening of the climate crisis. For example, it is necessary to stop constructing coal power plants because they are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.
According to a poll for UNICEF, three-quarters of 11- to 16-year-olds in Britain worried about the impact of global warming and wanted their government to do more to address the problem. Two-thirds of young people were also concerned about the effects of climate change on children and families in developing countries.
Our present choices can make the world better or worse. Our past actions have influenced the lives of all of us. Let's consider the COVID-19 pandemic. It has affected people all over the world. Who would have known that it would continue this long?
A few days ago, a big rainbow appeared in the evening sky. Looking at the beautiful sight, I wished for the end of COVID-19 and for a safe world.
Kim Sun-ae (blog.naver.com/dancinglf) wrote a book of illustrated essays, "Old Potato, New Potato."