YOUTH PERSPECTIVES | Optimism for the Future

This cartoon is a caustic commentary on the plight of the developing countries of the Asia-Pacific region in relation to climate change. Photo: Norman Isaac

By Donavan Shaw —

As a very involved 17-year-old within the community, I am often asked, “What are your plans for the future?” Most young people (including myself) instinctively jump to what they plan to do after they graduate high school: college or university, their dream jobs, and the kind of person they want to meet and share an agonizingly cute lifetime with.

This is all just dandy, unless you’re a young person very much like myself, who thinks a little further ahead, about the looming immanent destruction of the world and society we know via climate change and a general apathetic reaction to it.

Now, I know the doom and gloom bit is perhaps slightly off putting, but one must suffer a small amount of it in order to grasp the severity of the topic at hand. Because Canada has such a diverse climate we are able to see the effects of climate change rather easily, if only we look.

Manitoba is home to the great ice roads that ten years ago were used about 50-60 days of the year, and are now only used 10. Wow. That is a rather aggressive, “I am a real thing!” shout from Mr. Global Warming.

Here in British Columbia, we saw the effects of a few mild winters when the mountain pine beetle population increased and destroyed so many of our beloved pine trees. These pine trees that were killed, indirectly by climate change, also further contributed to climate change, releasing the carbon they stored while living, into the atmosphere to contribute to the greenhouse effect. Incidentally, this also contributes to climate change.

All of these things may seem insignificant or inconsequential by themselves but together they forecast a mighty doom with a high chance of severe destruction. The future is a wonderful thought—just peachy. Now, that does sound an awful lot like sarcasm, but it’s the truth. The future is a wonderful thought.

Despite the doom and gloom thinking about the future, especially concerning climate change, one must always keep a positive mindset. The icecaps are melting but isn’t a fantastic puzzle to figure out how to make it better? The world is getting hotter—how can we adapt or cool it down? Thousands of beautiful trees died, but we can use them for logging. There is always a bright side, and if ever it looks as if there is not—make one.

In order to beat the doom and gloom we have to make it zoom and bloom; we have to keep a positive mind so we can keep fighting to live and love on this beautiful Earth. Keep your head up and your smile on.

To all the young people like me thinking about the ruins the world may be in in the future, think instead of the world as a paradise you will happily create and fight for. To the older generations, think not about how we might further destroy the planet, but rather about the good things we can accomplish for the world, because of your example. So as a young person often asked about the future, I think about what I can do to fix it, and why I must never lose faith.

 

Donavan is a fun loving guy with strong interests in the political systems and a great love for the world and those within it. He is an extreme optimist and encourages you to be one, too.

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