Nineteen-year-old Canadian climate campaigner Alyssa Scanga is fed up with adult inaction on the climate crisis and has served notice that she’ll no longer play along with the notion that tinkering around the edges of business-as-usual will make everything okay again.
“Every morning I wake up and watch the world end,” Scanga writes in a recent op-ed for the Toronto Star, citing the incineration of Lytton, British Columbia, the literal baking of the Siberian Arctic, and drought-induced starvation of Madagascar
“I was born into a world facing an existential crisis,” she writes. “And yet, I’m one of the lucky ones. My life has been touched by the climate crisis, as all of ours have. But it has not ended because of it, and for that I am more fortunate than many.”
But at the same time, “being confronted with disaster and then being expected to go to class like nothing’s wrong does something to you. When people praise individual action and applaud incremental change nowhere near enough to save us from climate disaster, I feel it in my chest like an ache. We as a society know what must be done to mitigate and adapt to this crisis. The fact that we refuse to do so is a betrayal of the highest order.”
Scanga attacks a common narrative in which “the steps we must take to curb the climate crisis are dismissed as too radical, too costly, too inconvenient,” and asks how that environmental destruction and violent abuse of Indigenous peoples can so often be seen as the cost of doing business.
The Latin derivation of “radical” is “of or pertaining to the root,” Scanga adds, as she vows to become “radical” in her own efforts to tackle the roots of the climate crisis, and urges everyone to do the same.