by Jennifer Mackenzie Lynch, 16 years old, Brewster NY
What do you associate those numbers with?
Well what comes to mind when I see 100 is how many years I'd like to live and 16 is how old I am now. 34 is the number of years until oil reaches it's peak, and the energy situation will only go downhill from there. I'm also 1 of the 5,000,000 American youths living with asthma.
I see 25 as the percent of total energy on earth that America consumes, and 4 as the percentage of the world's population that we make up. Scary numbers? Find it unfair at all? We're 4% of the population and we have the right to 25% of the world's oil? Think about that…we take a QUARTER of the world's oil source…and we're only 4/100th of the population. We put out this message that we want to help save the world…yet we only leave ¾ of the world's oil for other 96% of the world's population? When I see 80, the percent of our country that's reliable on fossil fuels comes into my head, and the number 0 makes me think of the number of options we have for energy when we run out of these fossil fuels.
See a problem?
Because I do…and I'm questioning what we're doing about it, because right now the answer isn't hard to find, because simply…it's very little.
Doesn't that seem strange to you? America, supposedly the most intelligent, innovative country…has fallen far behind in preparations for the future. Other countries are passing us by with new renewable energy bills and new energy source ideas. Also I ask myself what kind of example the countries leaders are setting. Countries like Germany are passing us by getting their country 50% dependent on renewable energy sources by 2050 with their new legislation. I'll be alive in 50 years…our current leaders won't be, so where does the priority of the future of my generation stand?
I wake up every morning, and live each day like there will be thousands more. But what if you had to worry about how many days you had left to live? We live in such an amazing environment, we're truly the luckiest and most well off country…but now what happens in 50 years when oil runs out? What will cars, ships, planes, and trains run on? How will houses, schools, and buildings be heated? How will manufacture plants and business's run without power? Easy answer…they won't. We must get moving and take steps towards renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydrogen.
I want to be able to have the same opportunities as generations before me…doesn't my generation deserve a chance at a healthy prosperous future? I really don't think the people making these life-altering decisions are thinking altruistically at all. My generation will take over one day in the near future…but until then, we need your help…and I don't think it's a lot to ask, for the ultimate preservation of our planet. I'm sixteen…think about that for a second. Truly take it in…a 16 year old girl, someone who's only lived for maybe ¼ of your life, can address the problems with today's society. I thought wisdom came with old age?
Are you all afraid or something?
Ask yourself another question…do you want to send your kids to war fighting over the last sources oil when you could simply fight yourself to make a change in our country?
You know that if we don't start to change our energy policies there WILL be confrontations with other countries… resulting in deaths of hundreds more…why take that road if it can be avoided?
So many questions …all with no acceptable answers.
But there's one that can help start the initial process, what can you do to save the future? Start thinking of solutions NOW…not in a few decades when we're trapped in a worst-case scenario of complete devastation.
Oh and another thing, I thought the American government was a democracy…or at least that's what I'm learning in my U.S. History textbook. Isn't a democracy a government for the people by the people? Because last time I checked nationwide surveys about 87% of the country is for solar energy…so wouldn't you think the 2% that we rely on would be A LOT higher?
Either the entire country is in a conspiracy to lie about what they want…or that 87% is just not being represented. So we're still a democracy with 87% of the public being disregarded? Doesn't really seem like it to me. Things need to change…and the fate of this country can't wait until my generation is finally taken seriously, the people with power need to take a stand and turn around America's future now.
The downfall of this country is inevitable if we stay on this track the government is insisting on. But why would you want to put your children and the countries youth in this precarious position?
It's like abandoning us in a world that at that point would be irreversibly ruined. I'm not asking you to pave us a perfect future, bumps in the road are unavoidable, but at least give us the chance to expand upon something that can give us a future.
Come to think of it me writing this article shouldn't even be happening. A teenager should never have to plead for help from their elders. All of these concerns should be taken care of already, and taken into serious consideration. Working towards a successful solution should be our number one priority, but it's not...we're obviously not living in a perfect world…but don't you want to strive to get as close as you can get?
Last week, I read a quote from the new Governor of California…Arnold Schwarenegger. He stated:
"As Governor I will: Promote Solar and Renewables. Increase California's use of solar power in cooperation with developers, the Building Industry Association, labor, community organizations, and bi-partisan state legislators to provide incentives for new homes built in California to include Photovoltaics (PV). The goal of this program would be that, starting in 2005, 50% of new homes would include solar PV."
So one guy has the right idea…but it's not enough.
My generation and the world need your help to make our future something to look forward to. Please just for a few minutes…think about what you could do to help save the country, there are endless possibilities…and all we need is a rolling start.
Make a stand and help fight for not only my generation but our earth, after all…wouldn't you want someone to give you the same chance and opportunities for an American life?
It's come to a very serious point…and you have to truly think about what your top priorities are, I just don't understand how saving the planet isn't one of them.
So let's not wait any longer to move toward implementing renewable energy technologies.