By Olivia Mian
In 46 weeks this year, there have been 45 school shootings. Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. Id. The levels of carbon dioxide in the air are the highest they have been in 650,000 years. Satellite data shows that ice sheets are down by 413 gigatons per year. In the past 100 years, the seas levels have risen about 7 inches. Id. The UN Environment Program says that 200 species go extinct each day, drastically higher than any rate since the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago. The World Health Organization estimates that 1 million people die from suicide each year. In 2017 there were a reported 70,237 death from drug overdose, 5,111 of which were in Ohio. These are few among many problems in our society; problems where it’s our turn to fight.
The world we are living in is changing more rapidly than meets the eye and it is our responsibility, as the youth in the population, to become advocates for change and to break the cycle of ignorance to these very real problems. While it is easy to deny their severity or to feel too small to make an impact, the truth is that each person, every believer, helps fight these battles. Standing alone, we can do nothing, but standing together we can do everything. The Youth have the power to use their voices and use their passion to correct the mistakes of previous generations and make our world a better one.
To fight Global Warming, Climate Change and rapid animal extinction, work to reduce your carbon footprint by driving less, carpooling, recycling, turn lights off, being conscious of water use, don’t litter, participate in environment purification service activities, etc. Also, be an educator to your peers and to younger children about the reality of Global Warming, treating the environment with respect, and being ecofriendly. To fight gun violence as a youth, you can spread awareness and participate in demonstrations. In fighting the Pay Gap there is little that can be done as a youth, but you can participate in demonstrations and continue to make your voice heard. To fight the Rape Crisis, be informed and speak up. Women are often too afraid to come forward and they blame themselves; spread the message that the cause of rape is rapists, nothing else. Try to educate your peers on rape awareness, in addition to educating young men and women on the vile injustice in committing this crime. In addition, speak out about the lack of education people are receiving on the reality of rape. Schools should not be teaching their students to dress differently; they should be teaching their students not to become rapists. To fight suicide, volunteer to work at a hotline, be informed on the signs/changes you should look for that indicate when someone is at-risk and spread this knowledge among your peers. To fight drug addiction and overdose, again be informed and be a leader in avoiding addictions. Spread awareness about the faults of “experimentation” and teach people to overcome peer pressure. In fighting each of these major issues and many more that you will encounter and may feel passionately about, you must be informed, spread awareness, volunteer, participate, and be a leader for change.
Looking forward to the end of 2019 and the end of this decade, ask yourself, “What more can I do to work toward being proud of the world I call home?” Too long have people ignored what is right in front of them. Global Warming and Climate Change are real. The Rape Crisis is real. The Pay Gap is real. The Immigration Crisis is real. Human Trafficking is real. People really are starving in Africa. Gun violence is real. Lastly, a single person’s ability to make change in this world, however big or small, is real.
Wolfe, Elizabeth, and Christina Walker. “In 46 Weeks This Year, There Have Been 45 School Shootings.” CNN, Cable News Network, 19 Nov. 2019, http://www.cnn.com/2019/11/15/us/2019-us-school-shootings-trnd/index.html
“Statistics.” The Rape Crisis Center for Children and Adults, rapecrisis.com/statistics/.
“Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet.” NASA, NASA, climate.nasa.gov/.
Vidal, John. “Scientist: Mass Extinction Happening Unlike Anything The World Has Seen Since Dinosaurs Disappeared.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 25 May 2011, http://www.huffpost.com/entry/un-environment-programme-_n_684562.
Base Creative UK Ltd. “Befrienders Worldwide.” Befrienders Worldwide, http://www.befrienders.org/suicide-statistics.