Obama Tells Youth To Be Angry and Frustrated

In a speech on Monday at the United Nations climate conference in Scotland, President Barack Obama urged young people to harness their anger and frustration to save the world from climate change. 

Speaking at the event in person, which means he burned fuel to fly there, Obama dedicated much of his speech to young people, urging them to make true believers of their elders and ‘to vote the issue — vote like your life depends on it because it does.’” 

Obama recognized the “anxiety” young people have about climate change, but provided them with words of guidance left up to interpretation: “If older folks won’t listen, they need to get out of the way.”

Obama urges young people to try the route of talking about it first: “You need to help educate your parents and grandparents, your aunts and uncles, your teachers, your employers, because while a dangerously warming climate is a reality that a lot of — you have grown up with as young people, you’ve studied in school, you’ve read about it, it’s been part of the backdrop of your childhood, members of the older generation don’t have that same frame of reference.” Obama left out educating former U.S. presidents who have an enormous carbon footprint that follows them in the jets they fly all around the world. Reminding young people about all the propaganda they’ve been exposed to since birth is also a sure way to drive the point home. 

Along the lines of demeaning the older generation, Obama hinted that if they truly loved you, they would listen to you and change their ways. “They do love you, though. They do care about you. They listen to you more than you think. And if you explain how important the issue is to you, you may lead them to rethink their position or at least be more open-minded,” he said.

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Obama proudly shared that his own daughters are conscious climate change consumers. He asserts that climate heroes do not buy products that are harmful to the environment; they are “sophisticated” shoppers who support a healthy planet. His message to young people seems to be that if you want to be a climate superhero, you need to start buying like one in addition to reprimanding your elders. 

Speaking of money, Obama acknowledged that not everyone in the world can afford the lifestyle of a climate superhero, and that’s why the United States must do its part. Even within the United States, inequity must be acknowledged. Obama said, “I can afford to give up a lot of my current lifestyle to benefit the planet because I’ll still have a lot left over. A lot of folks don’t have that cushion. So that means that any climate plan worth its salt has to take these inequities into account, whether it’s through subsidies to poor people to ease the transition to clean energy, whether it’s technology transfers that help poor countries meet their development goals by leap-frogging dirty fuels, we have to pay attention to those embedded inequities and the politics that surround that.” 

According to Obama, being a conscious climate change consumer and re-educator for the elderly is a great start to curbing climate change. Just remember, he wants you to “stay angry” and “stay frustrated” for the sake of the planet. 

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