Care About Climate? Care About Covid.

Young Americans: Do you care about climate change? Then take a minute and read this thread, because right now, today, you have the opportunity to actually DO something about it.

We know this planet faces a coming crisis as a result of climate change, but action on the issue has stalled for decades. Some refute the science, others fear economic damage, there are even a few who just don’t care. I know how that feels. I share your frustration. But now there is a real crisis, not on the horizon, but here, now, happening in American cities and towns. And the way that you, the youngest generation of Americans, deal with this crisis, will have lasting repercussions.

If Covid spreads unchecked, and crashes the healthcare system, and a million Americans die in three weeks’ time, nothing will change. Oh a bunch of politicians will lose their jobs, and we may make some small adjustments to the healthcare system, but we won’t really change. We will treat is as a natural disaster, an Act of God. We will say it was unstoppable. We will bury the dead, and then try to rebuild our society just as it was: antiquated, unresponsive, and wildly corrupt.

But think about what happens if it goes slow, if we flatten the curve. Americans will spend the next three months making real changes to their lifestyles. They will drive less, consume less, spend less. And they will be taking coordinated community action, in an effort to stave off the very worst consequences of a crisis. They will have come together, as a nation, and shown that the things that bind us together are stronger than those that drive us apart. And they will have done all of that, based on the projections of scientists about how it could get MUCH worse. They will have heeded scientists’ advice, and they will understand, in a way they never have before, that this new global society comes with global risks.

The Covid Crisis will offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really change the conversation about climate change in this country. IF it goes slow. IF we avoid the worst-case scenarios. And that’s where you come in.

If you’re 22, distancing and isolating for Covid seems stupid. You are unlikely to get sick at all, and VERY unlikely to die, even if infected. And yes, people say, “But it will kill the old!” But if I was 22 in America today, my response would be “good riddance.” This country treats young people like DOGSHIT. What kind of country says that a 19-yr old must shoulder the responsibility of raising a rifle to defend his country, yet insists he lacks the maturity to raise a glass to toast it? BELIEVE ME, I feel you. IT IS BULLSHIT. 

You have a MILLION excellent reasons to be pissed. But even though it feels stupid, and even though you’re mad, the very most important thing you can do for yourselves and your future is to take this disease seriously, cancel everything, and stay home. That’s not sexy, it’s not glamorous, it may get boring. But it WILL make a HUGE difference in how this goes. And how this goes will make ALL the difference in who and what changes afterward. 

America’s young people are now and always have been our greatest natural resource. And in this crisis, as in every previous crisis, they are absolutely essential to helping us get through it. I believe in you. I hope you do too. 

To some generations much is given. Of others much is expected. Yours is a generation to which little has been given, and little seems expected. Yet nonetheless, I believe that your generation, like the one so many now call the greatest generation, has a rendezvous with destiny.


[Originally posted on Twitter. Feel free to share any way you can].