Teenage activists such as Greta Thunberg have gained worldwide fame, winning 2019 Time Magazine “Person of the Year” and becoming a nominee for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.
Senior Xiaomian Yang, president of SPARE, a club that promotes climate awareness within the Branham community, is inspired by Thunberg and all of the activism over the past decade.
“Greta’s actions and pushes for a change are admirable,” Yang said. “She continues to inspire many youths, including me.”
Last fall, more than 6 million people around the world, including 40,000 in the Bay Area, participated in the Global Climate Strike. Other movements, such as 350 Bay Area, are making progress and protesting to ban methane in San Francisco buildings. Yang believes these marches hold power to shape legislation in the long term.
“The marches and protests could influence the government to reduce carbon emissions and protect the ecosystem,” Yang said.
At the same time, awareness hasn’t always led to a decrease in our carbon footprint. According to a 2016 report by the city of San Jose, California produced 361.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, second only to Texas, with 653.8 million metric tons.
Cities including San Jose have devised plans to reduce our carbon footprint. Climate Smart San Jose is one of the first detailed city plans for reaching the targets of the Paris Agreement, a worldwide agreement to reduce the global carbon footprint signed in 2016.
According to a Clean Jobs America report, nearly 3.3 million Americans are working in the renewable energy industry. San Jose’s plan is already on track to create 25,000 clean tech jobs by the end of
2022. According to a report done by San Jose Clean Energy (SJCE) at the start of the new year, 86% of San Jose’s energy is carbon free; of this, 45% comes from renewable sources and 41% is generated hydro-electrically.
The plan is backed by local reusable energy companies and also bigger companies such as Tesla. Electric vehicles do not produce any exhaust unlike gasoline cars. The exhaust produced from gasoline vehicles consists of potentially dangerous chemicals including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides. However, according to a report done by CityLab, in 2017, just 200,000 electric vehicles were sold out of over 17,000,000 made.
Although the 2020 Tesla vehicles range from $35,000-$124,000 compared to the average price for a Honda at around $16,000-$34,000, the price of an e-gallon, or a gallon of electricity, in California is just over half the price of a regular gallon of gasoline, at an average of $1.83 for an e-gallon and an average of $3.39 for a gallon of regular gasoline.
Upcoming events such as the 350 Bay Area rally at the State of the State Address on Feb. 19 and Earth Day at Oxbow Commons in Napa on April 26 are displays of the continued efforts of activists pushing to make their world a better place.
“The protests, movements, and events all make me hopeful for the future.” Yang said. “There is hope for a change that is completely necessary.”