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  • Writer's pictureWill Charouhis


Climate change is the greatest issue ever to face humanity. Our generation aims to solve it. Don't let it cost the world to save the planet. We've all just got to do something.

Founder of Forces of Nature, Will Charouhis

    Landing in Madrid for my first COP is a mix of emotions:     I am excited to attend the world climate conference where 197 member states of the United Nations will announce their carbon emission reductions to begin implementation next year.       I am worried that the reductions will not be enough to keep the planet to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. I know our plant being a few degrees warmer every day doesn’t sound like something we can't live with, but scientifically, we can’t. The differences between even 1.5C warming and 2C warning are catastrophic.       I am ashamed the United States, viewed as the world leader by many, is pulling out of the Paris Agreement. Since I was born I have been told my country is the greatest in the world—that in America anything is possible. And I believe that. But on this--the greatest crisis to ever face humanity--where the planet needs America’s incredible entrepreneurship and optimism put into action, America is almost absent. Our government is not only refusing to lead the world on stopping climate change, but is refusing to even actively participate.      So I ponder this apocalypse where my generation had to fight to have the words "crisis" and "emergency" included in the conversation. And I ponder why the highest leaders of my country aren’t leading the rest in of the world in carbon cuts, and not even taking a seat at the table.    And I ponder my time here. Why am I here? I am 13. What can I possibly do that my country won't?

But I look at the picture above-that's my hometown underwater in 2017 after Hurricane Irma hit Miami. Check out the photo. Our downtown was literally flooded.

And that one photo-like so many photos the past few years of the wildfires in California, the burning of the Amazon, the melting of our glaciers at breakneck speeds so fast they can be caught on camera-that one photo reminds me of why I have journeyed to Madrid. Crazy as it sounds, so I won't say it out loud, I think my goal — my mission — my purpose — has to be this: to change America’s course. America has got to do this. It is unfathomable and unacceptable for America to take any role except leader.    And I am tired. It's a journey just getting here. I am headed to my hotel to get some sleep. And then I’ll tackle climate change.

Together, we are unstoppable youth calling for immediate action to end climate change. One of the people. By the people. For the planet. We all just have to do something. Because there is no Planet B. Stand with us.

Founder of Forces of Nature, Will Charouhis

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