Teenagers are a tough audience, and my 14 year old niece, Autumn, is among the toughest. She is curious about the world—and wants to know how it works and how it doesn’t. She logged on to my blog in search of some answers. Her take, after reading a few of my blog posts, was that they were too long and too complicated.
In the Twittersphere, she’s right. And since Autumn and her generation are going to inherit the mess we so-called grownups are leaving behind, this blog post—short and to the point—is for her.
Look at climate change. Go on EPA’s website Find out that due to the fossil fuel industry – and its minions – countries have not invested enough in cleaner energy sources like wind, solar, and biofuels. As a result, Autumn, you are already seeing rising global temperatures and changes in weather. This is causing more floods, droughts, and intense rain, as well as more frequent and severe heat waves and droughts. According to the EPA, the planet’s oceans are warming, ice caps are melting, and sea levels are rising.
Consider nuclear weapons. Click on The Arms Control Association’s website (In the spirit of full disclosure, your Aunt Julia once was a member of ACA’s Board of Directors). Five countries – the US, Russia, China, France, and Britain – have well over 10,000 nuclear warheads. Three nations – India, Israel, and Pakistan – are known to possess nuclear weapons and have 400 warheads between them. Iran and North Korea are both pursing the capability to produce and deploy nuclear weapons. This is not enough to destroy the entire earth but it would create a planet where the living would have reason to envy the dead.
Study the economy and global health. Today, powerful people care less about improving the welfare of the many than maintaining the wealth of the few. Their actions seldom reflect a concern for the world you and your children will be left with.
Despite all these global challenges, I am an optimist because I know you, Autumn, along with my other nieces and nephews, are smarter than many grownups. Your Uncle Harry and Aunt Julia know you will help make this world a better place. You and young people like you—in North and South America, the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Africa—are beginning and will continue to demand new leaders like President Obama who are dedicated to fixing the future. You have the most at stake. And my money, Autumn, is on you!