Sammy Hallal | Torrey Pines High School Senio
Sparked by the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, on March 14 thousands of students from Maine to California walked out of their classrooms at 10 a.m. to protest for stricter gun control laws and to honor the 17 lives lost in Parkland, Florida. The historic show of political unity showed not only that teenagers are fed up with our legislators and the people who keep them in office, but also served as a reminder that young people are the future. We are the ones who will soon inherit this world, benefitting from its developments but also dealing with its problems.
“A lot of older people look down on teenagers and think we are apathetic to what’s going on in the world,” Jones, a senior at Torrey Pines High School said. “We pay attention and will continue to voice our opinions about the things we are passionate about. People seem to forget that most high school seniors are old enough to vote and make a difference.”
Despite the many issues we see in the headlines on a daily basis, it cannot be denied that the world today is in better shape than ever before. More people have a better standard of living than throughout history. Deaths due to war, violence, disease, and famine are at an all-time low. Life expectancy is up, and infant mortality is down. This, however, doesn’t mean that there is nothing to take issue with.
“I wouldn’t say that I have resentment toward adults for the problems they’re passing on, but there are definitely things to be disappointed about,” Brown, a junior at Canyon Crest Academy said. “Just one example is that we have a dysfunctional Congress and president, and it wasn’t my generation that put them there.”
Climate change is a relatively new and major issue that affects everyone, but it is young people who have to grow up with its effects. In 2015, a group of teenagers even filed an ongoing lawsuit against the federal government (Juliana v. United States) claiming that the government’s actions that cause climate change have violated the youngest generations’ right to life, liberty, and property. [Ed. note: On March 3, 2018, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Trump administration’s petition seeking dismissal of this case.] No matter what the court ultimately decides, the degradation of a world and climate that can sustain human life is an issue that outweighs all others. If there is nowhere to live, then all the other issues couldn’t even exist.
“Obviously, our lives today are better than before because of things that our parents’ generation has done, but this doesn’t mean we can’t also have problems,” Abu Khalaf, a senior at Francis Parker High School said. “Climate change is an issue that will be passed on to us and will change the way we live today. That’s something the last generation kind of threw onto us.”
More than ever before, young people are getting involved and informing themselves about the problems present around the globe. In just a few years it will be the younger generation that’ll be steering this world, and it seems as though they’re ready for the challenge.