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June 4, 2017     West Seattle Herald
OP-ED: While President Trump withdraws from the Paris Climate Agreement, teenagers like myself are fighting the climate crisis head-on
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June 4, 2017

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OP-ED: While President Trump withdraws from the Paris Climate Agreement, teenagers like myself are fighting the climate crisis head-on | West Seattle Herald / White Center News Skip to Main Content Area Sunday, June 4, 2017 | Scattered clouds, 60.8 °F search Letters Sign in Subscribe Contact Us Front Page News Features Sports Opinion Police Blotter 100 years of history celebrated at West Seattle High School June 3 Hundreds of West Seattle High School Alumni came to the school to ... Fauntleroy Schoolhouse celebrates 100 years of memories and friendships at Centennial event Larry Livingston peered at the photos on the wall, trying to find ... Westside-O-Rama West Seattle Entertainment Guide Admiral Theater 2343 California Ave. S.W. 938-3456 Movie ... Tides turn back West Seattle By Tim Clinton SPORTS EDITOR West Seattle's ride through the ... Police Blotter week of 5-29-17 Ongoing investigation of homicide on Alki Detectives are still ... Opinion OP-ED: While President Trump withdraws from the Paris Climate Agreement, teenagers like myself are fighting the climate crisis head-on Jean's View: A Hole in our Heart Jean's View: Crazy place to build a city Amanda's View: Colosseum and memoriam Ken's View: Parking is an issue; Space in the paper is at a premium too Ken's view: Everybody wants to be mayor Jean's View: The pollsters are coming Jean's View: Bertha's Big Breakthrough Jean's View: What killed Pronto? 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But that is only one of the many actions his administration has taken to give a proverbial middle finger to all young generations, who will suffer the devastating impacts of climate change. Today's teenagers are growing up at a time where everything generations before us took for granted-- clean air, potable water, and life as we know it-- are on the verge of destruction. Teenagers, or “Generation Z” as we’re sometimes called, are growing up during a time where our future is more uncertain than it was for any generation before us. And among our internet surfing, Snapchat-addicted populace, are warriors. Many of today’s teenagers are defying stereotypes, fighting tooth and nail for our futures. Some teenagers are more civically active in one month than most adults are in a lifetime. I am one of them. Some of us are bravely tackling one of the most massive issues humanity has ever faced-- climate change-- while the leaders who are supposed to be doing it for us move backward, backing out of agreements, and buddying up with petroleum industries to destroy the futures of their own children. Take for example activist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez. He just turned 17. But by age 12, he had already organized more than 35 protests and rallies for environmental justice. President Obama gave him a national community service award in 2013 and as of today, Xiuhtezcatl has spoken at the United Nations three times, on behalf of our earth, and our entire generation, whose future is currently under assault by our own parents. Xiuhtezcatl is also a part of a lawsuit, along with 21 other youth plaintiffs, who are suing the federal government over denying our generation’s constitutional rights to life and a healthy environment. The President could learn a thing or two from him. My friend 16-year-old Anne Lee, who co-founded a program that successfully lowered her school’s carbon footprint, and that of schools all over the state is better helping to safeguard the future than every single Trump Administration official combined. Then there’s Chiara Rose D’Angelo, who, when at 20, chained herself to the Anchor of a giant oil ship that was staying in a Washington State port, The Arctic Challenger, for three whole days, to stop it from leaving to go drill oil in the Arctic. Right now, leaders like Paul Ryan and Mitch Mcconnell, who are supposed to be an example for young people, are not showing even a shred of the courage Chiara has shown. And then, there’s me. Now 15-years-old, I take multiple trips a year to my state capitol to lobby my representatives and testify at bill hearings, in hopes that climate-fighting policies are passed. I spend every free hour I have attending community organizing meetings, writing Op-Eds, and putting together civic action projects to combat the climate crisis. I am not alone. But in the end, whether or not my generation inherits a livable planet relies on our leaders to actually listen to us youth activists, instead of giving us a “good work” pat on the head and then continuing to let the climate crisis get worse. We young change-makers can’t save our futures alone. We don’t make the laws. And that’s why we need our leaders to genuinely support us by taking concrete action to save our futures. Even if the current administration is exiting deals and taking strides backward in fighting climate change, representatives in other branches of government, like the Congress and Senate, need to step up for young people’s futures. We youth have to worry about things our parents never had to, like if the natural wonders and animals we love will still be around for us to share with our own children. We have to worry about concerns so basic that no one should ever have to even think about them, like whether the air we will breathe as adults will be clean, or whether our water will be potable. And because most of us can’t vote, we teenagers have no say in the destruction that is happening to our planet. We had no say in electing our politicians, who instead of working to safeguard our futures, are pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, defunding the EPA, slashing environmental regulations left and right, and are ready to sell America’s national parks to the highest bidder. Many of today’s youth activists are setting examples for our leaders, instead of vice versa. Jamie Margolin is a 15 year old environmental activist and West Seattle resident. We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed. View the discussion thread. Please send us your news tips, photos or ideas of how we can better cover your neighborhood. Email us at or TEXT news tips to 206-459-6717 Receive updates on news and events in the West Seattle neighborhood via Twitter! Web development by Freelock Computing © 2017 Robinson Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved. Contact Us Terms Home Delivery Media kit available on request -- contact window.fbAsyncInit = function() { FB. FB.Event.subscribe("edge.create", function(href, widget) { _gaq. }); }; (function() { var e = document. e.async = true; e.src = document.location.protocol + '//'; document.getElementById('fb-root'). }()); _qoptions={ qacct:"p-04cWTlFWpKYdM" };