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A climate message from a young person

East Middlebury resident Greta Hardy-Mittell, a 2018 graduate of Middlebury Union High School, spoke at College Park in Middlebury this past Friday at noon as part of the Climate Strike. The worldwide call to action on climate change brought out more than a hundred at the Middlebury event. Here are Hardy-Mittell’s remarks.
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On December 2, 2018, I sat outside, watched a lizard and a butterfly, and thought about the end of the world.
I was in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, miles away from the nearest city, farm, mine, power plant, or car, but the suffocating fear of climate change had followed me even to this most protected and pristine environment. I may not have had roads, but I had Wi-Fi, and I had spent the last few days reading article upon article about our president’s plans to deregulate fossil fuels and open up the last wildernesses in our country to drilling. It was just the latest link in a chain determined to draw us closer to our doom. I’ve waited my entire life for that chain to snap, but that day, I snapped instead.
As I sat on those steps, watching that lizard and that butterfly against a backdrop of the most beautiful jungle you can imagine, I could only think about how it was all going to die. Everything started to seem pointless, even the very reason I was there — to research scarlet macaws and save them from extinction — because, thanks to us humans, who knew if the next generation of macaws would even have an earth to live on? We would either exploit every last inch of the planet for natural resources, or the burning of those natural resources would change the climate enough to destroy the planet for us. Either way, I truly believed that the world was going to end.
Looking out at all of you today, I’m not so sure. I came back from the rainforest to a new hope. For the first time, our country has a plan drastic enough that it could actually prevent the worst of a climate crisis. Our country has national lawmakers young enough that they will live to see our future. And our country has us. We can strike, we can speak, and in less than two years, we can VOTE: for lawmakers and a president who will take our future seriously.
Let’s make sure, TOGETHER, that we never see the end of the world.

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