What Does the New Decade Have to Offer?

Aaron Booe and Skylar Sidensol-Denero

With the new year finally here, I find myself concerned. With a mess of events ranging from climate change to economic policy haunting us in the new year, I cannot help but feel that as we enter the new decade, we ought to address the dangers posed by our complacency.

One of the most pressing issues the world is facing is climate change. Ninety-five percent of the Arctic’s oldest ice has melted due to the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere. Melted ice creates a rise in sea levels which in turn destroys homes and property in coastal areas and island nations. Fires rage across continents in both the eastern and western hemispheres. Countries engage in dangerous activities, such as when the Brazilian President authorized deforestation of the Amazon, which damages the world that many young people such as myself will continue to live in. The acceleration of climate change has been met with significant support from my generation who show a genuine commitment to destroying the institutions that perpetuate climate change. Private entities have placed desires for profit above collective interests, and we are seeing the effects first hand. The destruction of the environment raises serious questions that younger generations must continue to answer. Although the illusion of progress has been championed by some governments and world leaders, young people such as myself understand that middle ground policies that attempt to alleviate immediate problems will never bring about the sustainable world that we deserve to live in. There have been a few agreements passed to help stop climate change, such as the Paris Agreements to pursue methods to alleviate climate change internationally. This is a major problem for all of Earth’s inhabitants, and if we as humans refuse to slow or stop our acceleration of climate change soon, we will find ourselves regretting our inaction.

Additionally, I grow worried about the United States’ inability to promote change. As the country struggles to handle domestic matters ranging from healthcare to family separation, I have less and less faith in the state to build a better future for younger people like me. The country refuses to speak out against humanitarian crises instead of asking the constitutionality of our actions. U.S. leaders show little desire to reshape trade deals that hurt the vast majority of the country. Dangerous trade deals have been passed that have exacerbated tensions domestically and internationally. Economic turmoil has coincided with the danger caused by climate change as many trade agreements refuse to take into account environmental sustainability. These deals are focused on short term economic gain which makes them fundamentally opposed to saving the environment and building a sustainable future. As the future generation that is responsible for ensuring that the world we live in is actively invested in the interests of the collective good, we need to take bold stances on issues. We can not allow ourselves to opt for neutral policies that provide bandages to the gaping problems before us. We need to not relent to compromise, as these issues can not be ignored. As a generation, we need to ask ourselves whether or not we would like the economy and the environment to work in our interests. We need to start tearing down the systems of inequality that have allowed for these problems to fester to the extent that they have. World leaders need to ensure that their agreements are focused on resolving matters instead of passing them along for the future generation to deal with. As people who have had this mandate handed down onto them by prior generations, I genuinely believe that we can be the ones to end these existential threats.

While the new year brings about a new decade it is easy to allow ourselves to grow apathetic. The forces that stand to prevent equality and prosperity must be critically examined if we are to find sufficient solutions. Our economy must be structured to focus on the long run. Our environment must receive sufficient protections to ensure our survival. In short, we must continue to aspire in our mission to rebuild a world that works for everyone.