Gabrielle Germain: SHA’s Very Own Greta Thunberg

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Gabrielle Germain: SHA’s Very Own Greta Thunberg

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Emily Graves ’21

By: Cecilia Dondorful-Amos & Aerin Mclaughlin

“The Destruction of Our World, Basically.”

According to National Geographic, the average global surface temperature rose 1.69 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the average in the 20th century. The rapid increase in temperature is taking a toll on the environment, causing ice caps to melt, and arctic animals to slowly go extinct. Though it may seem practical that the earth’s temperature would change periodically, the acceleration of temperature may cause irreversible damage. 

The youth is NOT tolerating anything until they see a change. With the rise of social media, young people are using it as an outlet for protest and political outreach. Just a few weeks ago, on September 21st, a Global Climate Strike ensued. Gabrielle Germain, our very own, gave a speech in New Haven during the climate strike. We interviewed her on her stance on Climate Change

How would you describe climate change in your own words?

“Climate Change is the destruction of our world, basically. It causes different changes in the climate which can affect the ice caps but it fluctuates depending on the different climates in different regions. Some regions are getting colder winters and harder hurricanes. Entire communities are being devastated by this change of weather”

 

“No one’s going to fix it for us and we have to be the ones to change it”

What/Who made you want to take charge in the Climate Movement?

“We’ve been surrounded by this stuff for our entire lives. Since we were little, we’ve been hearing about ice caps melting, polar bears dying, etc. We’ve grown up with this destroyed world. So, I just came to the conclusion that no one’s going to fix it for us and we have to be the ones to change it”

Social Media, though not always put into a positive light, is a significant resource not just for memes and selfies, but also politics and culture. Young people are learning new information so quickly, and it is up to them to implement it in their daily lives. They do so by sharing their views and opinions on issues. In a way, it is almost like the printing press in colonial times when ideas of the Enlightenment were spread through words. Except, this time, ideas are being dispersed by a few taps and a hashtag.

“This motive is so universal that you meet all types of people.” 

Can you describe your experience being in a leadership position in the Climate March in New Haven?/What was your favorite poster?

It’s really welcoming. I’ve met many great people through it. It’s through the New Haven Climate Movement so, I’ve met people from different schools. It’s nice to meet people driven by the same motive, but this motive is so universal that you meet all types of people. Anyone is welcome”

 “There was one lady with a witch hat and she had a sign that said ‘I’m Melting’”

Unification is part of the core values of our school. Activist movements such as the fight against climate change not only helps bring people together, as Bella explained, but it also broadens our exposure to people from all walks of life. This is essential to being able to open our eyes to multiple perspectives. 

 

“We’ve grown up with these books about dystopian worlds”

Do you think the Youth has what it takes to change the world?

“I think, of course, we have what it takes to change the world. We’ve grown up with these books about dystopian worlds like Hunger Games and people like Katniss destroying the government. That really shaped us as a generation. From that, we’ve been given the tools to overthrow our corrupt government”

It’s clear that we have members of our student body who are passionate about social justice issues and are dedicated to making a change. However, teenagers also often lack the confidence to openly proclaim their opinions. How can we help one another empower our activism? It starts with simple publicity like this interview with Bella. When we see more people stand up against injustice,, it’s easier to feel more comfortable doing the same. 

Emily Graves ’21

 

“I know it’s hard at SHA because everyone lives in different places but when it’s possible, it wouldn’t hurt”

What are some ways, big or small, that we can live more green?

“Definitely cutting out single-use plastics. Try to reduce recyclables because, though it’s important to recycle, it’s also important to minimize the amount of waste you make overall.” 

The leading factor in the temperature surge is the increase in carbon emissions since 1960. Our carbon dioxide footprint has a significant impact on the atmosphere. Some other ways that Gabby suggested to reduce our footprint is to cut back on transportation and use more eco-friendly options like biking or public transit. “I know it’s hard at SHA because everyone lives in different places, but when it’s possible, it wouldn’t hurt.” 

She also recommends thrifting. The clothes we buy have more of a substantial impact on the environment than we think. The polyester in fast fashion clothing sheds microfibers that pollute the ocean, as well as the dyes used in the garments. Buying second hand not only saves money but also, the world.

 

What is/What are your plans for Earth club?

  • Gabby is the President of Earth Club along with Susan Hemingway
    • They are organizing a rally for the spring
    • They hope to promote awareness of the problem, overall
    •  They’re working to cut out single-use plastics in the school
    • They are planning Beach clean up

 

There are so many ways for students to get involved in the fight against climate change right here in our school. It’s not just the people on the news or adults in a high position who can impact our future. It’s important that we inform our student body of what’s being done within our community for this cause. Gabby and other members of Earth club have a lot planned for our school and it’s participation in this movement, and we should all feel encouraged to join! Even if you are not a formal member of this club, raising awareness of this issue can be established by anybody. 

Emily Graves ’21

Works Cited

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/04/seven-things-to-know-about-climate-change/

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/environment-costs-fast-fashion-pollution-waste-sustainability-a8139386.html

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