Jeremiah Washington

Before We End Ourselves

The difference between being a forgettable president or an inspiration to all is what you do now to stop climate change.

Dear Future President,

In the United States’ short 250 year history we have had 43 Presidents of the USA. There are a few who go down in history. George Washington set the example for all future presidents, teaching us all the meaning of a quality leader. Abraham Lincoln united a war-torn country and freed an entire people. Franklin D. Roosevelt lead us out of the Great Depression and through a seemingly unending World War I. Theodore Roosevelt, who refused to shoot a bear. These men were and are inspirations. There are more among them, but these men will forever be remembered.

There are men who served in the Oval Office who went on to be forgotten. John Tyler has a Community College named after him. Herbert Hoover had a lot of press conferences. Those are just the ones that I can remember for anything.

My point is, the kind of president you are will determine your place in history. If you look to the present, you'll have a Community College named after you. Perhaps you'll get a dam. However, if you have the foresight of George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, you'll be on the face of our currency. You'll become an inspiration for years to come. I think I know just the way to do that. There is no better way to inspire generations of humans than by saving the entire species.

Climate Change is a huge issue, and it isn't something we can overlook. We're hitting record highs for temperature. People’s shoes are melting to the ground in India. Our ice caps are deteriorating at increasing rates. Tropical Storms and Extreme Weather are experiencing a devastating rise in frequency and potency. Forget about building walls. Forget about ending poverty and war. Forget about stopping terrorism or reforming health care, education, and gun laws. It won't matter if the human race isn't here. A couple things need to change and our nation can lead the way for the world.

First of all, we can't hesitate. This is something that is a bit scary. Even among the presidents I mentioned as inspirations, they hesitated. George Washington had to be talked out of stepping down after his first term by John Adams. Abraham Lincoln scrapped his Gettysburg Address four times before settling on the final speech. We, on the other hand, have no time to hesitate. We have more oil than BP would tell us, but we’re not going to have oil forever. The oil we do have is already taking a toll on our atmosphere. We have a massive hole in the ozone layer that looms over Australia. We have the threats discussed earlier. We need to diminish our effect on the climate before we end ourselves.

Second thing, our energy. It is no secret that our economy floats on a sea of oil. With fossil fuels running lower and lower in supply, this isn’t sustainable. Now the thing about oil is that it's not only deadly to our earth, it's deadly to us. We could spend an impressive amount of money making oil more efficient and making more oil wells, or we could transfer those funds into building solar farms and wind farm. Even more hydroelectric turbines off our coasts. If we can power our nation on renewable resources, we’ll be far better off.

Third. We need to invest in public transport. Gas emissions from cars account for 20% of our nation's total gas emissions clocking in at an average of 24 pounds of CO2 per gallon of gas. Our cars are constantly getting locked up in traffic and pour thousands of pounds of CO2 into our atmosphere. To try and keep cars moving, we make bigger roads. That ends up relocating businesses, and results in longer walking distances, encouraging people to buy a car instead of walking of using public transportation. In the end, we have a result. The majority of our nation gets to and from work as a single person in a five-seater compact car. That’s if you want to be optimistic. Trucks in the United States are getting more and more popular and they deal an even bigger toll on the environment.

Now this isn't something we can change overnight. I'm not saying, “hey, just issue out box fans to every citizen and require them to have them plugged in and running 24/7 and we'll be fine.” This isn't that simple. If you want to go down in history before the human race is gone, you need to address the biggest existential threat to mankind. If you noticed there are two types of memorable presidents, I applaud you. Teddy got a bear named after him. We all remember him, but for what? What will you be remembered for Mr./Mrs. President? What will be your legacy?

With trust and respect


The Community School

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