To have empathy is an emotion so entirely associated with the state of being, of humanity and having a heart, and yet we have abandoned all of it in a scramble for money via institutions that are committing slow arson against the creation we call home.
How can we remain ignorant and unsympathetic to those who are asking us for help?
A key part of the human condition has been abandoned by the power-hungry, money-hungry monsters who have no regard for any life other than their own. How could we encourage such a thing to occur and continue throughout time? How could we sit by knowingly without moderating the behaviour of the elite?
We have used all the power at our disposal to make something of what little we have. The people who have obtained the most; the most power, the most money, the most influence, have let their power for effective, positive change sit dormant in their banks and their offices for far too long. We demand a return to the humanity they seem to have lost. We are young, we are not in control of the world that we will inherit. We have no decisions on its fate but we are here to tell you that we are not naive. We are not stupid. We have empathy to a degree that billionaires cannot understand.
We can read statistics about wildfires and CO2 levels and interpret them with a degree of panic and fear and intelligence, from a perspective of inheriting, from having to live on for far longer than the people in power. Our existence is not permanent. We are an ever evolving species and the world will turn on, without us or with us, but we are securing our own fate by creating an apocalyptic society. How many apocalypse movies have you seen that end in happy situations and fulfilling chapter closes?
In works of fiction where technology exists to a far higher standard than we currently maintain, they cannot win. They cannot win because their leaders are ignorant, because their leaders benefit from their destruction due to the income it produces.
But real wealth isn’t money.
Real wealth is love and legacy and all the other cheesy things I could insert to persuade the masses. Leaders in apocalyptic fiction always bring about the downfall of children and adults alike who don’t deserve it. Those who are poor and attempting to make something for themselves. Those who are downtrodden and trying to recuperate. It is never fair. It is never the ones who contribute the most who experience the consequences. They sit in their bubbles with protective measures in place, gates and moats and guards. Leave the vulnerable citizens that they are meant to protect exposed. Tell those with power, safe in their tower: we will not obey. A story of revolution, not unlike our own, shares words with our movement, a powerful man withheld the bare minimum needed for survival from kids who knew no better.
But we know better. We are telling you what better is, and that is the most heart-breaking thing. We know better than the adults who ignore us because we listen, we read, we educate ourselves, we do not let ignorance block our last chance at survival. All we want is to live, freely and wholly. We must challenge ourselves and those around us to be better and do better. We beg all of you to have empathy, as we check ourselves for it also.
A return to humanity is vital at this stage of destruction.
Erin Robinson, YS4C Belfast