Take a quick minute to read through the speech:
Hello. My name is Cooper Tinsley. I am a current student at Westfield High School. I am 15 years old and will be a sophomore in the coming year. I was recently elected sophomore class president and I am in the environmental club at WHS.
I recently started my own organization titled the Youth Climate Accord. I started the Youth Climate Accord because I am fearful for the sake of my future.
I like to think that I've been a climate activist ever since I found out about Climate Change, but I soon realized that until recently, I never was. Yes, I supported Climate Justice. I talked about it and knew some of the consequences of climate change. I, however, had no idea the trouble we would be in right now.
The United Nations recently revealed that 1 million of the 8 million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction. They also declared that if we don't achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 the effects of climate change may be irreversible, stating that “We are the last generation that can prevent irreparable damage to our planet.”
According to NPR.org, much of this trauma is caused by “shifts in seasons [and the] prevalence of plastics and other contaminants in water.”
We are approaching a point of no return. It is time to act now.
Simply, if we want to protect humanity, we must protect our biodiversity. No questions about it.
We are currently experiencing the 6th mass extinction, losing up to 200 species every year.
How Climate Change will affect Westfield? The recent national climate assessment states that “Extreme heat, heavy downpours, and flooding will affect infrastructure, health, agriculture, forestry, transportation, air and water quality, and more [in the Midwest]. Climate change will also exacerbate a range of risks to the Great Lakes,” also disclosing that “Most of the region’s population lives in cities, which are particularly vulnerable to climate change-related flooding and life-threatening heat waves because of aging infrastructure and other factors. Climate change may also [intensify] other stresses on vegetation encountered in urban environments, including increased atmospheric pollution, heat island effects, a highly variable water cycle, and frequent exposure to new pests and diseases.”
The Purdue Climate Change Impact Assessment says climate change will affect Indiana like nothing previously seen, affecting our health, our forests, both our land and aquatic ecosystems, our urban green space, our agriculture, tourism, our energy supply, our water, our infrastructure and economy, stating that “changes to the state’s climate over the coming decades, including increasing temperatures, changes in precipitation amounts and patterns, and rising levels of carbon dioxide in the air will result in several direct and indirect impacts to the state’s agricultural industry.”
Agricultural production in Westfield would plummet along with other cities in Indiana and throughout the world.
Air and water quality will struggle to keep up with our standards.
Eventually, as with all legislation, this comes down to a monetary issue. Climate change will affect your wallet as you've never seen before. Health care costs will go up. Food costs will go up. Severe weather damage and energy prices will skyrocket.
In the long term, acting now will save billions across the US, eliminating most expenses due to wildfires, hurricanes, droughts, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, hail, and blizzards.
Cities all across Indiana are listening to their youth and passing resolutions to get things done. Carmel, Lawrence, Indianapolis, South Bend, Goshen, and Bloomington are among the top contributors to climate justice in Indiana. Don't let our city fall behind.
I met with mayor Cook about a month ago and again this past week to discuss the various ways Westfield can be “green.” Many of the great opportunities that have occurred are in part because of the mayor, and for that I thank him, but there is still much to be done to secure our future.
The youth of Westfield and the World are fearful, scared and nervous for the fate of their future. Help us.
I have not come here today to tell you what you are doing wrong, or to criticize you or any other politicians. I am here on behalf of youth across Westfield and the world, to ask for your help.
The UK Student Climate Network voices that:
“...Decisions are made by much older people - leaders across the world are mostly over 50 years - they have less skin in the game; less of their time on earth will be affected. ...Young people now need to take charge of their future in a way that [the] previous generation has failed to do… Adults must facilitate the demands of the young to not be left with a polluted and unsafe planet...”
We are here, in front of you today for one reason and one reason only. To help this small city of 40,000 people, make a tremendous difference and secure the future of generations to come.
Help us make a resolution that will not only secure our future but that of our children and your grandchildren.
All we need is one city council member who we can lean on to help us draft this piece of life-changing legislation. Someone that we can learn from. Someone willing to teach us everything they know because we are willing to listen. But ultimately, someone we can thank later, for saving our future.
We aren't just trying to get attention. No. We are much more than that. We are striving for attention and change.
We want to see our city grow and prosper and we believe the best way to do that is through green methods.
Not only will the implementation of these “green methods” make Westfield a more attractive place to live, but will also be the catalyst for Westfield to develop economically, whilst being green and sustainable.
We are running out of time.
It is time to take action now.
So I am asking you.
As Youth, as families, as friends, and as politicians.
And most importantly Change.