Metal straws aren’t enough

Walking into Framingham State University’s McCarthy Center, there is one thing in particular you may notice if you pay close attention – metal straws.

Metal straws in Dunkin’s cups, metal straws in reusable cups, metal straws poking out of the pockets of backpacks for later use – they’re everywhere.

The metal straw trend has taken off across the younger generation in an attempt to slowly, but surely, help save the Earth from the climate crisis. With reduce, reuse, recycle already programmed into our brains, there is a constant attempt to do anything to help save the Earth.

And why wouldn’t we? After all, millennials and Gen Z are part of the majority who may end up having a devastating future ahead.

The temperatures are rising, the Amazon is burning, and as Smash Mouth once famously sang, “The ice we skate is getting pretty thin / The water’s getting warm / so you might as well swim.”

Our world is, indeed, on fire and I do not believe that the younger generation needs any convincing of that. However, there is something our young generation does not understand – while individual work for the environment is important, the large corporations are the ones who need to step up their game, not us.

The younger generation is actively trying to better themselves, not just by using metal straws and reusable cups, but also extreme life changes, such as veganism.

According to a research report by firm GlobalData, the percentage of those in the United States who claim to be vegan rose by 600% from 2014 to 2017. The percentage went from 1 to 6 in the span of four years.

All of this is fantastic, and, in fact, I encourage people to keep going. I, myself, have a lot more I can do to help the Earth, being a plastic-straw user personally. However, I believe we need to put as much energy into protesting as we do into recycling.

Our true inspiration should be Greta Thunberg – the 16-year-old climate activist taking the world by storm.

Her anger about the state of the world is amazing, and it’s something every adult should be feeling as well. 

In fact, we should all be angry.

Angry about the pressure placed upon shoulders of those who make minimum wage. 

Angry that there are billionaires sitting on their money, literally watching the world burn. 

Angry that our own President thinks the climate crisis is a joke.

Some people say Thunberg should be in school, or that she is too young to fully understand what is happening. Those people are the same people who are continuing to burn fossil fuels and dump tons of plastic into the ocean.

Thunberg knows what she is talking about, and so does our entire generation. However, we can’t do this alone, which is why I think the biggest step for us to take is to get the large corporations to accept partial blame for the polluting the Earth.

Individuals doing their share is part of the process, but the overall end of corruption from a select few will be what truly saves us.