Climate Change Has Students Skipping School & We Couldn't Be Prouder

Written by Elizabeth Gerson
Elizabeth Gerson is a former mindbodygreen intern and a student at Stanford University studying Psychology and Communication with a specialization in Health & Development.

Image by Deirdre Malfatto / Stocksy

Playing hooky has never been for a nobler cause. Tens of thousands of students across the country skipped school on Friday in an organized effort to protest the government's action—or inaction, rather—around climate change policy.

The movement, which is called the "U.S. Youth Climate Strike," is led by 12-year-old Haven Coleman, 16-year-old Isra Hirsi, and 13-year-old Alexandria Villaseñor and has kids in more than 100 cities nationwide standing up for the planet.

You can sense the frustration in their words: "We are striking because our world leaders have yet to acknowledge, prioritize, or properly address our climate crisis. With our futures at stake, we call for radical legislative action to combat climate change and its countless detrimental effects on the American people."

These protests couldn't be more timely. The world has been slowly waking up to the idea that if we want to reverse the harmful effects of climate change, we need to act fast. According to an October 2018 report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we need to make drastic changes, or the natural world as we know it will be damaged beyond repair as soon as 2030.

Increased global temperatures are at the root cause of floods and droughts across the world, threatening our food supply and even increasing the likelihood of food contamination. With the world population increasing at a rapid rate, our food supply is something we can't mess around with.

Aside from wreaking havoc on the planet, climate change can also have disastrous effects on your personal health. From air pollution that can worsen asthma or cause pregnancy complications to limiting outdoor activity for exercise to even causing some cases of depression, climate change goes far beyond just affecting the weather.

We should all be taking a page from these kids. It's one thing to sit around and talk about climate change, but it's another to get up and do something about it.

If you're looking to get involved ASAP, you can consider donating to the movement, contacting your elected officials, or supporting sustainable businesses that give 1 percent of their profits back to the planet.

Bottom line: When it comes to protecting our climate, it's less of a matter of creating a better future and more of a matter of creating a future at all.

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