Fort River students: A ‘green’ future starts now

  • Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images/TNS

Thursday, May 20, 2021

We are sixth graders at Fort River Elementary School in Amherst. We are working on a campaign to help stop climate change in Massachusetts. Carbon pollution is an incredibly bad thing. People, plants, and animals are dying because of the changes it is causing. Earth’s natural ecosystem is collapsing, destroying entire species of animals.

The Earth is slowly getting hotter, increasing the risk of wildfires and natural disasters. We are facing a sixth mass extinction. All of this is because of climate change.

But it is not too late. If we drastically reduce the amount of carbon emissions that we are pumping into the atmosphere on a daily basis, the world will start to recover. Life is resilient. It survived five mass extinctions. If we do this, then the Earth will heal. One thing that is going to allow Massachusetts to help is passing the Green Future Act.

The Green Future Act is a bill in the Massachusetts legislature that aims to fund the drive for net-zero emissions in the coming decades. While this bill is currently only in Massachusetts, hopefully other states will follow our lead, create more bills, and make the United States the leading nation in pollution reduction and a role model to countries throughout the world. Right now, we are focusing on getting more legislators to cosponsor the bill. We want this to pass so that our generation and many generations to come will lead happier, environmentally healthier lives. The Green Future Act also “directs aid to the appropriate cities and towns,” like towns that have already been badly affected by climate change. Go to greenfuturenowma.org/legislation for more information on the bill itself.

What follows are some of the reasons why you should support the Green Future Act. With it, we can achieve net-zero emissions (which means that we will take as much carbon out of the atmosphere as we are putting in) while holding polluters accountable. Another reason is that the bill emphasizes environmental justice, meaning that communities that have been most negatively affected by climate change, often groups that bear less responsibility for causing it, are prioritized.

Climate change is scary, and it is happening right now. We are in the middle of a crisis, and it is killing our planet. But passing the Green Future Act may be a small (but bold) step toward redemption. If we work together, we can hold polluters accountable and save our beloved planet. If this bill is passed, and the new climate law funded, then we will be on track toward a cleaner world.

Thank you for your time in reading this. Please reach out to your legislators and encourage them to prioritize the Green Future Act’s passage. Many of our legislators in the Pioneer Valley are signed on as cosponsors, but the more that our state representatives and senators hear from constituents about the Green Future Act, the better. Hopefully, the leadership in the state house will take this opportunity to keep our state moving forward in the fight against climate change. Together we can change the world!

Ashwin Venkataraman, Gideon Antonowicz and Alexandra Saravia Ayala are sixth graders in teacher Tim Austin’s class at Fort River School.