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Op-Ed: If The 1975 can use their platform for a cause the least we can do is our part

If we continue to stay blind to these issues — an expanding populous  a warming habitat, political leaders that incite violence through divisive speech — that we will not survive.”

Usually seeing a song entitled “The 1975” by The 1975 means the intro track to a new album so, naturally I was beyond excited to see it pop up among the release radar playlist. However this track is so much more than I could ever have seen coming. 

Starting with a slow twinkling piano with an airy tone, the song seems like a normal intro track for the Manchester band. However, thirty seconds in we hear a small, yet strong voice beginning to speak. The nearly 5 minute track hits on a poignant theme of climate change and poetically accomplished through one of the people it will affect: a child. While I shouldn’t call Sweedish activist, Greta Thunberg, a child as she is a teenager but my point is made. 

Not only calling climate change a crisis but further thrusting the importance of acknowledgement onto the issue by classifying it as an emergency is only the start of this track’s influence. Calling out multiple fronts, the track squarely places the issue as a failure of “the older generations” and current political movements, noting that “homosapiens have not yet failed.” 

The teenager adds that there is time, and it is up to us to not only recognize the current problems of our systems in order to turn things around. If we continue to stay blind to these issues — an expanding populus, a warming habitat, political leaders that incite violence through divisive speech — that we will not survive. 

It won’t be the problem of the generations before us; Boomers, Gen Xers and likely a part of the older Millennial generations will be dead. However, the issue will affect those generations’ children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and so forth. It is the children of the 2000’s and 2010’s and their kids that will be trying to struggle with the systematic messes that prior generations have created. 

As it is so well spoken in the track “now is not the time for speaking politely,” it is time to be clear, concise and unabashed. It is a do-or-do-not situation, there is no trying at this point. While we have the capability of doing something about this disastrous situation, we must reach to make the changes necessary to stop the 1.5 degrees of warming. “There are no grey areas when it comes to survival,” is the apex of this impactful message.

Thunberg notes the flaws in the system and how individual change can only go so far, but that “you cannot have one without the other.” Looking at historical movement she continues to add how large movements begin at the grassroots level, gaining traction and moving forward from there. She underscores the proverbial fog everyone lives under by decisively saying that we need to wake up. 

Most people are aware of the climate issues yet no one does anything about them, emissions have continued to rise despite all of the warnings. More and more plastic enters our ecosystems daily and farming methods have continued to be unsustainable. In order to “safeguard the living situations for future generations” as Thunberg says, we must all stop turning a blind eye to these systematic issues… all of them.

Our systems, globally, internally and socially, are flawed. There is no way of saying it lightly. We use single-use bottles and flaunt their purity, but how much longer are our lakes, rivers and oceans going to be clean with the bottles that once held them cluttering the water we’re trying to drink? Flint still doesn’t have clean water, yet the State of Michigan allows the Nestle corporation to pump 1.1 MILLION gallons of water out of aquifers from Lake Michigan every day for a measly $200 a year. 

Now is the time to not simply think about sustainability but to act. Bring a cup with you, a reusable water bottle, a bag as you go about your day. Walk, bike, carpool or try to use public transportation. Talk to others about reusable, sustainable options that are necessary for our environment. Help work towards a solution.

If The 1975 can give their platform for a cause that is of public good the least we can do is our part — and that is no longer bare minimum.

If you want to learn more about how to help the environment, you can visit The Nature Conservancy’s website here.

“The Nature Conservancy is tackling some of the toughest problems facing people and nature today replicating good ideas to save many places and improve people’s lives,” their website states. “We are grounded by local experience and leverage our science, real-world solutions and partnerships to influence global decision-making.”

On behalf of our Michigan readers…

Flint still does not have clean water.

Please visit Flint Cares to learn more about what you can do to help residents.


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