Op-Ed: Climate Change is the Defining Struggle of Every Generation Alive Today

Hi, I’m Jamie Minden. I’ve been an environmental activist for a few years now, and it’s worked out pretty well for me. But most people who want to get involved (because they don’t want to live on a dying planet) have trouble knowing where to start in activism.

I understand that the idea can be daunting. But rest assured: you don’t have to drop out of school, give up your job, stop wearing shoes or move to San Francisco to become a climate activist. You can if you want, of course, but you don’t have to.

There are plenty of easy things you can do that can work around your schedule. Look up groups like Sunrise Movement, Youth Climate Strikes, 350.org, and Citizens Climate Lobby, and if there isn’t a group in your area, find a few friends and start one.

If you’re not all that into community organizing, how about changing your lived environment into something more sustainable? Replace your gas-burning water heater with an electric one. Explain to your cousin that climate change doesn’t mean the end of snowstorms, it means that the global temperatures are rising at a pace that will eventually make many parts of the Earth uninhabitable.

What about your workplace? Are there ways for you to steer your company in a more sustainable direction? Forbes predicts that the United States’ renewable energy business is worth $3 trillion. Why not cash in on a more sustainable future?

The reality is that grassroots movements have been the cause of virtually all progress on the issue. Pardon my French, but most national governments haven’t done sh*t. So every bit of climate action you see—from recycling collection to the Green New Deal—is the direct result of the tireless work of scores of passionate climate activists. Just normal people like you and me who want to make a difference.

To backtrack slightly, I want to recognize that communities of color have been shunted aside in all of this, too. People of color are disproportionately affected by ecological issues, and yet they have always been the unrecognized leaders of this fight.

People of color defend endangered species from poachers, risk their lives to protect the rainforests, and are arrested in our very own country for protesting developments that threaten to destroy sacred landmarks.

If you’re a person of color who wants to get involved in the climate movement, I want you to know that we hear you. Yeah, you might have to work a little harder to make your voice heard. I’m not going to sugar-coat it: this country has a history of environmental racism and a dishearteningly whitewashed climate movement. But that’s simply why your voice is more important than ever.

Yeah, I’m a white girl, but I stand behind you. Groups like Sunrise and people like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stand behind you.  Your voice is important. You deserve to be heard. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

We only have 11 years left, so let’s make them count. Lets give it our all, and put up a good fight. Because once our emissions go past the tipping point, we cannot go back. Our chance is now. Every living person has a responsibility to do their part, no matter how small. Climate change will be the struggle that defines every generation alive today.

While the “greatest generation” had to stand up and fight two world wars head on, we now have no choice but to play the cards we’ve been dealt, and fight for our futures. Look at this from a patriotic standpoint, and do your part for our country. Do your part for our world. I want you to join the climate protection movement.

We hope to see you at our next strike at 2:45pm Friday as we fight for our future. Please visit svyouthclimatestrike.org for more information.

Jamie Minden is a local high school student and co-lead of the Silicon Valley Youth Climate Strike occurring on Friday. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside. Send op-ed pitches to [email protected].


  1. > So every bit of climate action you see—from recycling collection to the Green New Deal—is the direct result of the tireless work of scores of passionate climate activists.

    So, Jamie.

    About your activists friends and all the good they’re doing: the aluminum can recycling program seems to have collapsed. All the can recycling stations seem to have shut down, and the homeless won’t even search through dumpsters any more.

    Pardon my French, but I and my neighbors are up to our a$$es in recyclables with no place to take them.

    Do you suppose you could get some of your activist friends off of THEIR a$$es and come up with a plan on what to do with all of this crap.

    Twenty years ago, activists like you told us that recycling was a genius idea and would “save the planet”. Why didn’t it save the planet, and why should anyone believe any of your NEW genius ideas?

  2. I just put in the trash Bubble. All I give them is cardboard these days. Once they started getting picky about wire and steel junk I quit wasting my time sorting it out for them.

    As for the rest of you snow flakes , YOUR ALL GOING TO DIE unless you all move to Antarctica NOW!

  3. Thank you for this thoughtful and inspiring response to what is rapidly turning into a runaway catastrophe. Its great to see our youth taking the reins from the older and frequently apathetic generation of consumers, many of whom are apparently still angry that they were asked to sort their trash. My generation has the privilege of continuing to ignore the gravity of this situation since most likely we’ll live out the full extent of our lives. Your generation does not.

    • > Its great to see our youth taking the reins from the older and frequently apathetic generation of consumers, many of whom are apparently still angry that they were asked to sort their trash.

      I sorted my damn trash, Smarty pants. I’m up to my a$$ in aluminum cans. What does the “thoughtful and inspiring” generation propose that I do with them?

      I’m no longer apathetic. If I don’t hear from you soon, I’m probably going to dump them on the gender neutral, non-threatening, bullying-free play-zone of your daycare center.

      If I remember correctly, if I don’t do something with these aluminum cans, like REALLY SOON, there’s going to be rising sea level or something, and all our smartphones will get soaked and we’ll all die.

      Hurry! This is a crisis!

  4. So WHAT is going to happen in 11 years???? What catastrophe awaits us? DO you even know? DO you even have a realistic idea? Because I am guessing you have no clue….. So how can anyone then believe you when you say stuff like that?

    • So what’s going to happen in 11 years?
      Don’t worry earth people, the fake Indian and the fake Mexican have a plan. After they tear down the wall and march over and kick in your door, and shoot your dog searching for WMD’s, they will fix every thing.

      Cars and airplanes won’t have gas to go and pollute, they will be converting them into living quarters for millions of undocumented workers, coming to breath free.
      They will be sorting out cans and bottles from Mr. Bubbles trash,” For Free” as we will all be slaves to the state, everything will be free.
      You won’t need an education any more because everyone will get paid the same, for free, according to his needs.

      Medicine / marijuana will be free, you can wait in line after work sorting through MR. Bubble’s trash.

      Don’t worry be happy the government will give you enough food, you can wait in line for it after work, it’s called Soilent Green and it’s high in protein and it’s good for you.

      Just 11 years away, get ready snowflake the government is coming.

  5. I’ll believe global warming is a problem when the people telling me that global warming is a problem start acting like it’s a problem.

  6. You students could really help solve this problem by walking or riding your bikes to school instead of making your parents drive you.
    The standstill traffic I encounter in the morning and afternoon from September to June contributes hugely to greenhouse gas emissions. All caused by the same kids out there lecturing us.

  7. > We only have 11 years left, so let’s make them count.

    Dear Jamie:

    Since the California High Speed Rail is not going to be done until 2045 or so, we’ll all be drowned by rising sea levels by then.

    So, are you and your activist friends OK with demanding that the government cancel the High Speed Rail?

    Could you organize a demonstration or something?

  8. > San Jose State University police on Wednesday arrested a 17-year-old student on charges of possessing a loaded semi-automatic handgun, ammo and a knife.

    > The teen, whose identity is being withheld because he’s a minor, was arrested without incident,

    Are minors, who are scared out of their wits about “climate change” by government paid public school teachers, the best people for climate policy advice for a planet of seven billion people?

  9. > Jamie Minden is a local high school student .. . .

    What high school?

    Jamie’s writing suggests extreme maladucation, low self-esteem, abusive manipulation and political exploitation by adults who don’t have her best interests at heart.

    Jamie is likely a “child” under the law and she is arguably being poorly served by her parents or by adults in her life standing “in loco parentis”.

    Her story needs to be brought to the attention of whatever local authorities are charged with safeguarding children who appear in circuses and sideshows.

    And the administrators or her school and her school district certainly should be scrutinized and required to explain how they are providing her a quality education and fostering her personal growth, independence, and positive self-image.

    This looks and smells like a very sick situation.

  10. In 11 years wont all of Santa Clara Valley be under water? We will not need high speed rail at that point. Save some money for BARB,Bay Area Rabid Boating.

  11. The fact is that by demonstrating and blocking the infrastructure, it will not be possible to change the consumer format of our society to a spiritually creative one. In order to make a real difference, ALLATRA International Community Movement volunteers have initiated a global online conference to discuss global issues and work out an action plan based on the Report “On the Problems and Consequences of Global Climate Change on Earth. Effective Ways to Solve These Problems” https://allatra.tv/en/book/on-the-problems-and-consequences-of-global-climate-change
    The precedent has already been created on May 11, 2019 – the video was posted on ALLATRA TV and it is really a real chance for everyone to take part in the decision of the fate of all humanity.

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