"The Educated Youth" is my descriptor for a subset of the population of contemporary young people. By “young,” I mean those ranging in age from teenagers to their mid-thirties. “Educated” indicates those sufficiently informed on both marginalized communities and policy procedures to comprehend the U.S. government's lack of action on social injustices. Such injustices include the environmental crisis that is anthropogenically-induced climate change.
There exist few if any plans to reorient markets towards making sustainability profitable, but it appears the population that most recognizes this necessity is The Educated Youth. They are the precise demographic that U.S. politics now depends on to rescue our economy from climate change prevention measures, and vice versa. Considering, then, that the average age of our Congress members has remained above 50 for at least the past 30 years, there exists an extreme discrepancy between the goals of our government and its people.
The Greensboro population is disappointed at the policy chances in solid waste management that now prevent recycling of glass. The City of Greensboro's office directs callers to facilities for glass drop-off... where the glass is separated for specific landfills, but not capable of being recycled.
Duke Energy's alternative energy solutions are limited and inefficient. Many landlords as well as homeowners have expressed personal grievances at property policies which prevent or hinder their ability to install solar panels.
Local businesses have explored using disposable items that are recycled and biodegradable, but often hesitate or eventually cease ordering them because they are drastically overpriced.
All of these examples are a result of insufficient facilities that are incapable of manufacturing and distributing renewable and eco-friendly products. There are not enough sales to warrant lowering the prices on those products. Corporations, rather than small businesses, are the only entities that can afford them, and those corporations choose not to invest. The U.S. government has the research, resources, and available structure to address the cost of these products in one of two main ways: it can provide incentives for corporations to purchase renewable materials, especially with respect to packaging; or can invest in public facilities capable of distributing renewable materials or managing waste for small businesses.
The only government entity with the ability to make market changes in this way is Congress. It is the House and Senate's responsibility to appropriate funds towards the respective public departments and agencies that will create and enforce incentives for corporations and promote local facility development for climate crisis solutions. We as a national community are tired of witnessing the lack of action, and we as The Educated Youth refuse to tolerate this inaction any longer.
As a student ambassador of Defend Our Future (a branch of the Environmental Defense Fund), I say to the following Congress members and local leaders:
Senator Richard Burr, Senator Thom Tillis, Rep. Virginia Foxx, Rep. Mark Walker, Rep. Ted Budd, Governor Roy Cooper, and Mayor Nancy Vaughan: you are all responsible for Greensboro's inability to recycle glass, home- and business-owners' inabilities to install solar panels in their properties, and the consistency of overpriced biodegradable and renewable materials in the market economy. I may be too young to run for office, but I am not too young to recognize the necessity for intersectional environmental justice for marginalized communities. This is my call to action for you.
Andrea B. Santolim Geller
Student of Political Science at UNCG
Ambassador for Defend Our Future