The opinions of high school students are often overlooked when it comes to big issues. Adults say they don’t understand enough and haven’t lived enough life to have a full opinion. Regardless, high schoolers still have a firm understanding of the world around them, along with very real concerns about its future.
Students gave a wide variety of answers from interviews and an instagram poll expressing what they felt was the most important issue in today’s society. They mentioned homelessness, white nationalism, fake news, mental health, and more. However, the most prevalent response was Climate Change.
Junior Maggie Muff said that Climate Change is the most important issue of today, and considers it a very pressing matter. “It’s bad. I think it’s something that needs to be addressed and should hold a bigger weight in our current political community.” Senior Camden Finger feels that Climate Change should be stopped. Senior Alex Pinedo thinks it’s “silly that people are still denying its existence, and that it is a pressing matter which is something that members of our older generation might disagree with. Which I think is also silly.” Most students interviewed agreed that Climate Change is a big issue.
I then asked the interviewees specifically about sea level rise, and how they felt about that in our coastal town. Finger had never considered sea level rise to be a problem our community would need to consider. “Aren’t we really high? They’re only talking about inches I thought.” Muff had a bit more concern over the issue, but addressed tsunamis instead of sea level rise, which is a different albeit related issue. “I live in the tsunami zone, and if sea level were to rise significantly my house would totally be flooded,” Muff said. “I’ve lived there my whole life so that’s definitely something I worry about.” Pinedo also hadn’t considered the issue. “I don’t know, honestly.”
The situation is looking bad, so I asked if the students felt they felt Climate Change was preventable. “Maybe not preventable, but I think it can at least be slowed down considerably,” said Muff. It’s true that there are still lots of things that can be done to prevent it. I asked her about what she does. “I’m environmentally conscious and I think that there are some people who are in a higher position of power than I am who could prevent things like this. But currently I don’t think I’m in a position where I could make a significant difference on a world wide scale.” Finger personally is a vegan and says, “that probably helps the climate a lot”. He would also “like more regulations and more vehicles to be produced that are greener, but I’m probably not doing enough. I think the government should try to push harder and that will inspire everyone to be greener.” Pushing for more government intervention on the matter seemed to be a common theme among the students.
Overall, I found that students hadn’t really considered the effects on our community in the coming years. They are concerned about Climate Change, but personally don’t do much to stop it. They believe that the government should be taking more steps to prevent these effects. Whether or not their worries will go unanswered remains to be seen.