Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. FFRF.org

Tenth place — High school essay contest: Katie Scroggs

Vol. 36 No. 06 August 2019
Katie Scroggs                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

FFRF awarded Katie $300.

Slowing climate change is on us

By Katie Scroggs

Science says human activity is causing the Earth to warm at unprecedented rates.

Conservatives say we shouldn’t worry about it because it’s our planet’s natural climate cycle. Science says we have mere years before the results are irreversible and catastrophic to the human race. Christians say to “Let go and let God.” But climate change is threatening the future as we know it, and no one can fix it but us.

Growing up in Texas, I knew many of my peers were Christians, but in the autumn of 2017, I was simply astounded by the things I saw on social media. After a season of “once-in-a-lifetime” hurricanes and floods, wildfires, and earthquakes, I saw my classmates flock to Twitter to retweet a post saying we should not fear the weather events, for they are preceding the return of Jesus.

However, a week went by, then a month, and then a year, and nothing happened; Jesus never came back. Shocking, I know. But that’s the thing about religion — it masks the unknown with a blanket of false security and reasoning until fear is replaced with a reassured, carefree mindset. By the time all these weather events were long gone, no one remained worried about them or their implications for our future. But, the thing is, these phenomena are unprecedented, and they’re the direct result of human-caused climate change.

Most religions preach that their congregation members should put their trust in their god or deity, and let that deity fix the world’s problems. However, this isn’t the case for many of the challenges humanity is facing today. From poverty and famine to climate change and an impending nuclear war, you, me, and every other person on this Earth must work together and actively problem solve to combat these global issues. As Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote from the point of view of Alexander Hamilton, “When my prayers to God were met with indifference, I picked up a pen; I wrote my own deliverance.”

Humanity cannot afford to wait for a supernatural entity to save us from the impending doom brought on by climate change. We must all do our part to fix it ourselves. We can boycott greenhouse-gas producing companies and fisheries. We can vote for politicians who will support a carbon tax and the Green New Deal. We can be more energy efficient in our homes by using electric cars, limiting water usage, and being more conscientious of our individual energy consumption. Prayers won’t solve this problem, but action from individuals, political leaders, and big businesses can make a positive impact on the future of humankind.

In the end, we must accept that climate change is our problem. The cataclysmic weather events that are becoming more prevalent are not the wrath of an angry god. This is all on us, on the human race. We must rely on humanity, not God, to take action and save ourselves from our catastrophic future.

Katie, 18, is from Austin, Texas, and will be attending the University of Rhode Island, where she plans earn a degree in pharmacy and minor in leadership and statistics. She hopes to become a clinical pharmacist with a specialty in solid organ transplant. Katie has been involved in cheerleading, Red Cross Club, Bowie Buddies, class officers, yearbook, National Honor Society, Key Club and Kickball Club, holding multiple leadership positions in those groups.