Climate Protests are Pointless


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Jonathan Nerenberg, Student Contributor

I don’t participate in climate protests, but it’s not because I don’t care about the environment. In fact, I think climate change is the greatest threat that the human race as a whole has to face. The scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows that the effects of climate change have already begun to manifest themselves, and that there is no way to avoid climate change completely, only lessen the impact. The ocean levels will rise, habitats will be destroyed, natural disasters will become commonplace, and society will go through a crisis. This information is conclusive and readily available to anyone, however, some people choose to ignore the evidence in their own interests. 

So, evidently, I pretty much see eye to eye with everyone who chooses to skip school or work and go protest in the streets. The difference is that I don’t have faith that waving signs is going to really change political policy. In fact, even if a large majority of this country got together and protested to save the earth, change still wouldn’t happen to a large extent. Assuredly, the government would do something to appease the masses, maybe release a statement or invest a few million dollars into solar energy. But, to save our way of life and prevent a total environmental disaster, action needs to be quick and comprehensive, and that won’t happen for one simple reason: money. 

America is a democracy, at least in name, which should mean that the majority should determine the actions of the nation. This is sometimes the case, and democracy is a system that should be preserved and protected, but often, the system is undermined by the interests of those with money. This isn’t to suggest that congressmen are taking bribes, but rather that candidates that support the interests of the rich tend to get massive donations, and gain a significant edge over their opponents. Oil mining, dirty energy, and unsustainable practices are very profitable, and the wealthy influence politics to preserve their profits. 

So, with this in mind, I find it fruitless to go protest in the streets with cute signs. I find it insignificant to use paper straws to save the turtles. It might make me feel better, like I’m doing my part to try and save the planet before it’s too late, but I know that I’m not really changing anything. It’s possible to save the earth, but it’s going to take a hell of a lot more than chanting activists catchphrases. We can’t save the earth through individual choices or through signs, but through massive change. We need to phase money out of politics so that the interests of the people can be better represented. We need to prioritize the safety of the country and the human race over the profits of the few. We need everyone to write to their representatives, donate and volunteer for political candidates that prioritize major change in government in the name of climate, and most importantly, vote. The power is not in the hands of the people right now, but it’s not too late to gain it back.