Not yet doomed: Reflections of a Brebeuf Jesuit student
By Grace Kitchell, Junior, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School
Born just in time to be revolutionaries, Brebeuf Jesuit students stepped out of class and outside into the fresh air of their devolving planet at 9:15 am on September 20th, determined to call for change.
Three students — two seniors and one junior — rose to a platform on behalf of their peers to make their demands and the immediacy of the crisis known, exemplifying the growing fear amongst teenagers of what future they are inheriting.
Brebeuf was proud to stand with four million students, worldwide, demanding that governments do something. All among a new generation that feels utterly forgotten by their leaders, left in the grave circumstances of an issue as existential as is climate change.
These students stood up and fought knowing they were protecting those who have had their voices minimized and lives threatened as a result of climate change. Coming from an education founded on social justice, students recognized that climate change truly is the next critical social justice issue.
Critics have said that students who are protesting are simply wasting their education and that student’s protests are childish. However, this generation, Gen Z, has risen and we will not look kindly upon our world leaders should they choose to fail us. In a similar manner these students fear that our children and grandchildren will not look fondly upon us. No matter how much the leaders that have ignored climate change condescend to students, calling them young and inexperienced, students can recognize the numbers.
The coming generation can see changes in their own lives: once in a century storms have become yearly, average temperatures push the extremes in both directions, mass extinctions, ice melting at record speeds, and droughts. This generation knows that this is only the start of a trend. If action is not taken these events will become even more common, more threatening, and more irreversible. These students are in large part too young to vote, they cannot speak up at companies; quite simply, their voices do not carry as far — and to as many ears — as adult voices. But these students did not walk into this war not knowing their cause. They have marched in knowing full well that inaction is by far the most dangerous option. There is no possible way these students could have sat silently knowing there are perfectly feasible political options that could drastically slow down the pace of climate change that are not even being considered much less employed.
Brebeuf students marched out knowing that we are acting late. That we have slept in and missed the dawn of a new hour in human history. These students marched fighting for adults to recognize that our planet is demanding we act now more than in any other point in the whole of human history. These students marched because they refuse to sit by and let their future be discarded like the plastics stacked now into mountains. These students marched because they all know that as long as they have hope, as long as they are willing to act, the world is not yet doomed.