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Opinion: The humbling message from a high schooler on climate change

The climate crisis continues, but this high schooler spoke words ‘beyond his years’

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The Great Salt Lake at low levels receding from Antelope Island with an exposed lake bed.

Record low water levels are seen in the Great Salt Lake from Antelope Island on Friday, July 22, 2022. Climate change and population growth contribute to the diminishing lake.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Cash Mendenhall’s grasp of the nature and seriousness of climate change in the op-ed “What my generation is facing — a high schooler’s take on the climate crisis” is humbling.

His phrase “steep collapse in livability” is a gripping one. He understands the urgency. He recognizes the peril of social numbing by the drumbeat of the news cycle, which can commodify virtually anything into bland background noise. He is cognizant of political paralysis engineered by fossil fuel industry deflection (and denial). He gets that the shift of responsibility to citizens, from industry, is a form of industry protection. He appreciates the implications of the most-welcome IRA.

Yet he goes beyond that, and frames it with the highly uneven global impact of the climate disaster, in terms of “income inequality and climate inequity.” To top it off, he advocates persuasively for powerful, nonpartisan, federal legislation, carbon fee and dividend, to squarely address the most fundamental climate issue — carbon emissions. This young man, speaking truth far beyond his years, is an inspiration.

Gary Stewart

Laguna Beach, California