Skimming the latest headlines, the devastating effects of climate change seem endless. Record-breaking heat in the U.S. Northwest and Canada; deadly flooding in Germany; extreme droughts in much of the U.S. West; fires raging across Turkey. It’s painfully clear that the climate crisis is no longer a problem solely for the future— its effects are already here and are impacting marginalized communities the worst.
Reading these stories, I feel a sense of fear for the people affected and my future. But as much as climate change is a most horrific crisis,
addressing it is the opportunity of a generation to transform society for the better. Especially as the world is also recovering from the economic impacts of COVID-19, we have the chance to put millions of people to work in dignified jobs that also help the planet. Green jobs like upgrading our infrastructure to be resilient to climate disasters, building clean and affordable public transit, expanding renewable energy, retrofitting buildings to be energy efficient, and restoring ecosystems could all help communities who have been historically excluded from economic opportunity. Not only would all of these solutions reduce our emissions and lessen climate change, but they would create the just and equitable future us youth deserve.
Through Congress’ upcoming infrastructure package, we have the chance to make this dream a reality. As young people, our voices hold power on this issue especially, and our Members of Congress need to hear from us. You can join the Illinois Green New Deal Coalition and
Clean Power Lake County in urging your legislators to demand that Congress include bold climate action in their infrastructure package by going to
About the Author: Eliana Bernat belongs to Or Shalom and is an incoming senior at Vernon Hills High School. She is part of her school’s environmental club, participated in JUF’s Research Training Internship (RTI) last year, and this summer was an intern with Clean Power Lake County (CPLC).