by Ryan Novak

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“I set myself down on the ground, outside the Swedish Parliament. I school striked for the climate. Some people say that I should be in school instead. Some people say that I should study to become a climate scientist so that I can “solve the climate crisis.” But the climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is wake up and change.” ― Greta Thunberg

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It’s a lovely day in the Adirondacks! On days like these, I enjoy nothing more than sitting next to the lake during the sixth mass extinction. As the breeze gently blows and the the water laps against the shore, I fantasize about what my future might look like during the climate-induced famine wars. The soothing sound of a loon’s call echoes across the water’s surface and drowns out the internal monologue of screaming and existential dread surrounding the future. But that’s just all fine and dandy because, here in the United States, I’m so privileged I won’t have to suffer… someone else will! That may not be the case, but it certainly feels like the general consensus when looking at all the issues surrounding global climate change and the subsequent crisis. In reality, however, it will hit us just as hard here in the US, we just may be better prepared to deal with it than others. Whether the inaction stems from our false sense of security, blatant ignorance, rapacious attitudes, or global advantage and privilege built on the backs of those who will suffer for the luxury of others, we need to do something about it.

the current administration continues to Walmart its way through our natural resources with environmental protection roll backs

This is a call to action. This is a wake up. This is me, verbally grabbing your shoulders and shaking you violently, screaming “Wake up!” In 2018, Cape Town, South Africa, was the first modern city to nearly run out of fresh water. Parts of Australia are expected to run out of water in 2020. Chile is beginning to experience the burden of increasing water stress. Nine Indian States or Union Territories are experiencing extremely high-water stress currently. Zimbabwe is currently being crippled as water scarcity breaks down its economy and the country seeks $464 million just to stave off famine. This is a globally recognized climate crisis being driven by climate change and compounded by pollution throughout the world and things are getting worse.

This problem is affecting everyone. Throughout the United States, the pressure of water scarcity is growing. Alaska and Kansas are experiencing increasing levels of water stress, not just California. Mandatory water cutbacks will be enacted for Lake Mead as it dwindles toward just 38% capacity. These decisions will impact water resources for Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico. All the while, the current administration continues to Walmart its way through our natural resources with environmental protection roll backs. I’m not even going to start on our national policy towards immigration in the face of a climate driven diaspora, a nationally recognized reality.

So… what can we do? For starters, come out to the “Welcome to the Climate Strike” panel at Paul Smith’s College in the Freer Auditorium on Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 7 PM. We will listen to 4 presentations highlighting the necessity of a response and what we can do and what we are doing as a community. It’s a daunting task to undertake on your own. Together we can make the changes we want to see, and for that matter, need to see.

The second half of the event will be a guided panel discussion. Bring your thoughts, questions, inspirations; this is active encouragement of a collective mind. If you are absolutely lost in the sauce and overwhelmed, don’t worry― chances are, you’re not alone.