Lily Nilipour | Torrey Pines High School Senior
Climate change has been a constant topic of concern in both the world and our local community. From rising temperatures and greenhouse gases to California’s past prolonged drought, environmental issues are an essential part of conversation throughout all demographics. Even just in the past few weeks, a worrying crack was discovered in the Peterman Glacier — one of the biggest in Greenland — which, if soon separated, could contribute to the growing trend of melting land ice increasing sea levels.
However, the current political rhetoric surrounding these environmental topics seems to undermine their importance. President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order asking the Environmental Protection Agency to suspend or reevaluate many measures taken by the department under former president Barack Obama.
“Scientific evidence overwhelmingly suggests that climate change is caused in large part by human behaviors,” classmate Joyce L. said. “Although I don’t expect global industries to forfeit profit in order to preserve the environment, the government must take a stronger stance in favor of research and reform. It should not be a liberal or conservative agenda, but a human responsibility to protect future generations.”
By proposing massive budget cuts to the EPA, Trump and his administration appear to simply be putting more of an emphasis on economic development in industries like that of fossil fuels. Yet, a much more sinister message is purported, whether intentional or not: that economic growth and businesses are more important to the American public than the preservation of the environment. And, even if Trump argues that his policies are still in the interest of controlling climate change, it is impossible for the government to regulate every industry, company, factory, etc. involving such preservation. Loosening EPA regulations may ideologically seem sound, but in practice can result in the dismissal of careful procedures in favor of profit.
As the youngest group of voters, many high school students find it quite surprising that the current administration can so easily overlook what could potentially be the most urgent issue in the world for the future. Our generation, especially here in California, has experienced some effects of rapid climate change and have read and heard about others. The future of our generation is being compromised; the future of the planet is hardly being considered.
Perhaps what is most troubling is the idea that people and businesses may soon be allowed to disregard the well-being of the environment and their own posterity, all simply for the fleeting reward of profit — and all in denial that climate change is even a dangerous phenomenon. As Joyce mentioned, the responsibility to protect the future lies in today’s adults’ ability to plan ahead. When even that simple responsibility is not attended to, it contributes greatly to the rift that divides so many people in this country today.