When I was a teenager, I knew global warming was caused by fossil fuels. So did Exxon.
For decades, Exxon has been hiding the truth about the climate crisis, burying their own scientific reports. From 1970 to 2003, the oil company ran studies that accurately predicted the disastrous consequences of continuing to burn fossil fuels.
They modeled out the alarming reality of the disasters humans are living in. They knew that continuing to burn oil would lead to the forest fires that burnt my friend’s house to the ground, the floods that destroyed the coastal California city I lived in and the drought that threatens the water supply of the high-altitude desert where I worked for 10 years.
All this time has been wasted, 30 years when they could have been putting their skills and strengths to work solving the problem. Because of their climate denialism propaganda, now is a time of threat of the collapse of civilizations, ecosystems, biodiversity and the future of humanity.
As I write this, students are on school strike, walking out of classrooms. What is the point of studying algebra if the planet’s ecosystem is collapsing? Why prepare for a future that will likely never come to pass? It’s hard to be excited about graduating high school or college in 2030, the year of passing the point of no return if there is not a rapid transition off of fossil fuels.
When I was their age, I was also worried about climate change. That was in the 1990s, when there were still decades to avoid the catastrophe now being faced. Back then, people often spoke about how fossil fuels were leading toward disaster. Then climate denialism took hold.
My whole life, Exxon has been lying about the dangers of burning oil. Today, the truth is known. The climate crisis is real. Even Exxon proved it. The only question that remains is: Will humans act fast enough to save everything … and everyone?