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“Spontaneous combustion is ahead”
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“Spontaneous combustion is ahead”

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Shannay WilliamsThere is no debate about climate change, writes Shannay Williams, 18, a Correspondent from St. Thomas in Jamaica, who argues that unless care it taken, even more dire consequences are in store.

It has occurred to me that something is wrong. This is a ‘not-so-new’ epiphany to environmental activists, but it has struck me since my 17th year.

I wondered why it took me so long to start to take climate change seriously, and then I figured it out.

Something is wrong. Something is wrong with the jarring fact that I learnt about climate change in school, but never really acted upon what I learnt until I was a teenager. And now I know what that something is. It is the idea that no matter what we do, the Earth will be fine. The notion that the Earth will survive us, just like it survived the Big Bang!

But if you’re a West Indian like me, you would realize that climate change is a very real thing. I remember beaches from my childhood that now recede like an 80 year old man’s hairline. I hear my elders speak of rivers that no longer exist, and yet I see their tracks.  I live on a riverbed. Yes, where I live now was once a river. It has dried up so thoroughly that it is now a residential area, with buildings exceeding three storeys and impending mudslides every time it rains heavily.

Now in 2016, Venezuela is being likened to the dystopia in the Hunger Games, where power cuts characterise the small districts to feed energy to the larger ones. It is the first time in my life that I have seen images of darkness that touched my inner core. I found them truly perturbing. Perturbing in the sense that there was a time when I could have never imagined this; especially in Venezuela, the country known for Petro Caribe in the Caribbean. The country Jamaica flew her flag at half-mast for when Hugo Chavez died, this great nation.

It just goes to show that the Earth’s resources can be exhausted and will not always survive us. Climate change is real!

We often think that the severity of the phenomenon is being exaggerated by environmentalist or ‘tree-huggers’ (who ironically still write on paper) but it is far more serious than that.

It has struck me that if we do not treat the Earth with the utmost respect and care, one day we shall spontaneously combust. We will explode with natural disasters, polluted living spaces and death tolls higher than the Eiffel Tower (that is, for those of us who would survive). So I pose the question to the ‘non-believers’: does spontaneous combustion look attractive to you? Is that a picture of an Earth that is fine? Because the truth is, we are already combusting. When it reaches its pinnacle, it might not be so spontaneous after all.

photo credit: Starting the fire via photopin (license)
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About me: I am an 18 year old student of Morant Bay High school, Jamaica, and I am passionate about the literary and performing arts. I am aspiring to become a real estate lawyer, poet and novelist.

I am guided by the philosophy ‘Cogito Ergo Sum’, because I strongly believe that all we need to produce greatness is a mind. I believe there are no limits to greatness, not even death. I am a climate change advocate in my community, and a patriot.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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Shannay Williams

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