Peer Review by yapyapxy (Singapore)

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Who will be Responsible for our Lives?

By: timtam.9


In 2018, the UN released an IPCC climate report, outlining the dire condition of our planet and calling for support from society. It became largely received by people who served little to no interest in the manner and helped in fuelling the discussion of climate change across the globe. A discussion that should have been made and solved decades ago. A discussion that resulted in other discussions that resulted in next to nothing.
Last year, the UN released another climate report that seemed to be largely overlooked in comparison to the 2018 report. Yet, the unfortunate truth is that this has revealed a far worse fate. Our ‘efforts’ towards fixing the crumbling state of our world had done nothing, our clock is approaching it’s end and not enough is ever being done about it. Instead, people are looking towards the youth to guide us, when they should be taking responsibility themselves.
 
Greta Thunberg, a 17 year old girl from Sweden, spoke at the UN climate summit just last year. Her speech went viral as she ruthlessly accused world leaders of robbing her of her childhood and future and demanded that they  be held  accountable for the unfair burdens that they have placed on her shoulders. Ironically, people see this as the promising of a leader and that Thunberg should become the face of climate change movement. This completely ignores everything she advocates and disrespects her the same way that our elders have. The horrible thing is, she is not the only one who is treated this way.
Thousands of students who should be in high school- studying, making mistakes, worrying about friend problems or drama or grades- are instead marching on the streets, trying to fix the mistakes their grandparents made. Adults are relying on the youth to pick up the broken pieces of the world and put them together, but this won’t work. We need to stop relying on others to make a change or else the next IPCC report will roll around and we would have done nothing, yet again.
These children should not have to feel guilty or responsible for the fatal and corrupt mistakes they did not instigate. These children should not be forced into maturity before global governments are. These children should not be terrified of their time running out.
 
Is there no humanity left within humanity? Everyday, we see the same corporations pumping out greenhouse gases and eradicating entire forests in the pursuit of money. We could ask them why they do this when millions- billions- of lives will be lost, but no matter what they say, we know the truth. Why should they care, when it doesn’t effect them? 
According to inequality.org, 64% of the world’s adult population own 2% of the global wealth. This leaves 42% of the global wealth share to only 1% of the population. It’s one of the rare cases in which the minority dictates power over the majority. The mystery of why we have been so useless in this fight against time is within money. 
Corruption, greed, apathy; these values have spearheaded our society into it’s ultimate annihilation. Money has become power and it is the very reason why we have become powerless. How can we stand by and expect a generation of teenagers to stand alone before this and beg for their lives? Currency is cold and merciless. If it won’t save our future generations then we have to.
 
The only way we can win this fight for our lives is if we take matters into our own hands. We need to see changes within our government, within our laws, within our industries and within our own personal behaviours before we can see changes within our future. The world is burning down. We owe it to the new generation to listen to the warnings we have neglected for far too long and to do something quickly. Because, at the end of the day, we need to ask ourselves, who will be responsible for our lives?
 

References

Inequality.org. (n.d.). Global Inequality - Inequality.org. [online] Available at: https://inequality.org/facts/global-inequality/  [Accessed 9 Feb. 2020].
 
Ipcc.ch. (n.d.). IPCC — Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. [online] Available at: https://www.ipcc.ch/ [Accessed 9 Feb. 2020].
 
Thunberg, G. (2019). Greta Thunberg (Young Climate Activist) at the Climate Action Summit 2019 - Official Video. [online] YouTube. Available at: https://youtu.be/u9KxE4Kv9A8  [Accessed 9 Feb. 2020].
 
Un.org. (2019). UNITED NATIONS UN Climate Change Summit 2019. [online] Available at: https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/un-climate-summit-2019.shtml  [Accessed 9 Feb. 2020].

Peer Review

I, too, am angry about the slow progress about environmental activism and how corporations are not taking climate change seriously or urgently. I found the straightforward message "Instead, people are looking towards the youth to guide us, when they should be taking responsibility themselves." compelling because therein lies the problem of why Greta is not as effective in instigating action as she should be, and why people are not taking her seriously.


The "stakes" are not yet unclear, as highlighted in various highlights. Though we know our planet is at stake, the author has yet to highlight what are the consequences we face (food shortage? unliveable weather conditions? increased natural disasters? unsustainable living?) so readers might not identify with the urgency of the issue and might not understand how they will be affected and why.


Mostly I wanted to know more specific details about the problem, and how the problem should be solved.


You definitely care a lot about the topic, which is a great start because I can tell that you know what is going on and wherein lies the problem. All you need a little more editing, structuring and taking care not to bury your argument within the fact that nothing is being done.


Reviewer Comments

This is one of the few essays I'm trying to review so it was refreshing to read about a topic I care about too! I think the title was very promising and sets up a compelling argument for why we should care about climate change. You have insights on the reasons why efforts are floundering but often did not go very in-depth on the reasons.

Your op-ed shows your own voice, which is great, and you also backed up your opinion. I think you can consider adding more personal anecdotes or stories about environmental efforts from your country to make your perspective more compelling – readers will understand what is your stake in the matter, and should they identify with you, they will see their stake in the matter too.

Perhaps it was because you didn't stick to addressing one specific audience throughout the piece and this confused you as you went on – you started off with the people who are relying on the efforts of the youth without doing anything, then moved on to corporations who are exceedingly selfish, then towards the youth who needs to take action but left out saying specifically how they could take responsibility. It diluted your message regarding who exactly is responsible, and towards the end, I was unsure of what was the message you were trying to convey. However, I did like the fact that you always circled back to the theme of responsibility! One suggestion for structuring your piece (though you don't have to follow this) would be that you could state at the start that we are all responsible, albeit in different ways, and then tried to persuade the reader how each type of people can take responsibility – politicians listening to the science, corporations focusing less on profits, youths being unashamed to make our voices heard, etc.

I felt that you were addressing mostly environmentalists and youths (though for the first half it was just the general public) and this affected the details you might have otherwise given – statistics, perhaps, about how dire the situation is, or a description of the world's climate situation. Details may add persuasiveness as they can show the seriousness of the matter, so don't be afraid to go into detail (though not for too long, else readers lose track of your argument). Perhaps you can look at other op-ed pieces on the environment and consider whether adding more detail would accentuate your argument.

I hope the feedback helped! :) Keep writing and I hope you inspire some action with your writing. Definitely keep reading environment op-ed pieces, or just op-ed pieces so you can glean some insight as to how to make your piece more persuasive. The fight for climate change is a difficult one, but I do believe in the power of words, so I hope we all keep at it in our own ways. :')