Masking the Earth

by Jazie Mein T. Rangga || Photo Credit: WBUR

“Adults keep saying: ‘We owe it to the young people to give them hope.’ 

But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire. Because it is.” – Greta Thunberg, Swedish environmental activist at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on January 25, 2019.

On April 6th, 2022, over 1,000 scientists in 26 countries risked arrest as they raised their voices and spoke about the arising dangers that fossil fuels pose to the climate. This sparked movement in the streets and on social media alike, with the #LetTheEarthBreathe rising rapidly on many top social media platforms. 

This isn’t the first protest humans have made for the sake of saving their planet. People have been arrested for speaking up about the environment all the way back in the early 1900s, only growing more desperate as the years go by. The planet grows hotter, but people are only silenced or urged to ignore it.

So why do we keep protesting? 

These protests usually end up in chaos, disorder, and disruptive behavior, after all. But the spectacle they cause is for the good of humanity. These rallies not only fight for the present but also for the future. 

The effects we witness today are proof that climate change can take so much from us. As the polluted air damages our lungs and the rising sea levels take away our homes, we’re forced to ponder, “Can we allow the future generations to suffer through that? They might even have to live through the world being sicker than it is today.”

They do not deserve to pay for the sins they had not committed. They deserve to come into a world where the sky is blue, not covered up by the grey smog of pollution.

What are we supposed to do then? 

For starters, we can follow the well-known four Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair) to lessen our environmental waste. Riding a bike or taking public transport (bus, train, etc.) is another helpful way to reduce one’s carbon footprint. On a larger scale, we can also invest in environmentally-safe materials, and of course, save water and energy. 

What is our role as Filipino citizens? 

Voting for leaders who genuinely care for the environment and possess exceptional environmental platforms is a major leap itself, especially now as the elections are approaching. 

As science students, we can also use the privilege that has been given to us to learn more about the environment and how to improve such a dire situation. As bearers of the truth, it is also our duty to actively take part in this movement.

While humanity is still in a pandemic, masking ourselves to protect one another, there is no reason for the Earth to be masked and trapped in the heat and waste that we have created. Shouldn’t it also be given the freedom to breathe like the life it has harbored?

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