A message to the Ventura City Council

By Tessa Gallagher, Ventura High School
President, GWAT (Global Warming Action Team)

Tomorrow depends on today. And yesterday, and everyday. Tomorrow, the beacon of hope, when the sun will come out, when cars will fly, and when everything will be better. Tomorrow was once so beautiful. Now, tomorrow’s face has faded. Tomorrow is uncertain. Today we need to change.

The future of tomorrow is climate change. The paranoid nightmare of mad scientists is real, and happening. That problem of future generations is now the problem of this generation. Environmental issues are not just the problems of pandas and polar bears, our environment is everything; it’s our economy; it’s our food supply; it’s our air; it’s our tomorrow.

Our tomorrow is not about dreams but how to avoid disaster. We know that to avoid the worst, we must keep the global temperature from rising above 2 degrees celsius. To do this, we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions, part of which is switching of our energy scores to 80% renewable by 2030 and 100% renewables by 2050.

And so you sit. You debate the science. You debate the rising seas that have already lead to erosion of many of our coastal cities. You debate the ever warming temperatures — 2016 is the warmest year on record. You debate the missing glaciers. You debate the missing birds and bees — 37% of North American birds already facing extinction, and in some states bee populations have been reduced by 70%.

For the younger generation, there is no time to wait. We cannot wait until we have the masters and doctorate degrees to solve this problem. We cannot wait until one of us is president. Then it will have been too late. We must act now. We must march.

We, the youth of Ventura, have no time to waste. We have joined together in one national youth organization, iMatter. A group founded by the passions of a local thirteen-year-old who saw his footprint on the planet and wanted to change it, iMatter is an organization of youth from all over the country, demanding action. Environmental leaders of all four public high schools have collaborated to urge the City of Ventura to act. Last year, we presented to the city council a Climate Report Card with a grade of a C-, and this April 24, we march to get a Climate Action Plan passed by the council. Change begins small, one city at a time, but every change is important as every city matters. Tomorrow the sun will come out, but it will be just a little bit hotter than before.

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