Apathy toward climate change more harmful than we think

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Acknowledging the damages of climate change is a first step—but acknowledgment without immediate action accomplishes nothing. 

While past claims that climate change was exaggerated might have held merit, its dangers are unavoidable for young people today.

NASA has forecasted an expected temperature rise of 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century. In North America, this will result in more droughts, heatwaves, irregular rain patterns, and flooding.

We’re already seeing these changes in Kingston, with a summer flood, irregular weather patterns, the 2018 ice storm, and sporadic intense rain.

While outright denial is hard in the face of tangible evidence, many individuals—including me—have adopted an apathetic approach and an indifferent attitude toward the issue.

For many, apathy stems from fear and a lack of control. Protecting the environment can seem an insurmountable task, and the effort it takes to not abuse the climate appears to outweigh the benefits. Our society is fully transparent in this practice. As such, our efforts as individuals can feel pointless and it make us to forgo any extra but vital inconvenience.

By choosing apathy, we’re choosing to ignore that these issues exist.

Instead of advocating for solutions, we’re saying that we are unbothered by more natural disasters, higher death rates, dirtier air, and rising sea levels.

I used to pretend global warming wasn’t real because I rarely heard about it. I thought if the earth had existed for so long thus far, it would continue on. I didn’t adapt my behaviour because I assumed change was inevitable regardless of my actions—plus, it wasn’t my fault.

I attributed our planet’s warming to previous generations. But in failing to participate in a solution, I’m also to blame.

If I can’t speak up for my planet, I can’t expect anyone else to do the same.

Apathy normalizes climate change and tells those in power—be it corporations or governments—that people aren’t committed enough to make major sacrifices.

But in our society, the only way we can make a difference is to actively care. That includes voting—making it clear that if a governing body wants to be in power, they should value the environment. Similarly, we can “vote with our money” by supporting companies committed to reducing carbon emissions and producing sustainable products.  

Once this shift occurs, it sends the message that helping the planet is financially and politically sustainable—forcing groups who don’t conform to adapt. Government and corporations have the power to make change. They just need the incentive.

The bottom line is: if we don’t care, nobody else will.

Tessa is The Journal’s Assistant Photo Editor. She’s a second-year English major.

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