By Macy Quigg


Photo courtesy of the author

Editor’s Note: This online piece is part of the ARCADE 35.1 feature Generation Anthropocene in which youth share their perspectives on climate change.

I’m not very compelled by ethical arguments. I live my life believing that I and most other humans operate for primarily selfish reasons. If I do things that are perceived as kind, my kindness is merely a side effect. I fight for the rights of others so that they will fight for mine. I bite my tongue when faced with unfair authority figures so that they will be more likely to favor me.

I am selfish, but I am not unusual. I am an animal. I live for myself. I live to survive.

I’m not very compelled by the idea that we owe some kind of debt to this Earth. Of all global issues, I perhaps discuss climate change least because what I hear over and over is the idea that humans are somehow above nature, have ruined it, and need to restore it. To me, this seems impossibly arrogant. We, like every other animal, are the result of evolution. We cannot operate on some level superior to all other life forms. The end of us will not be the end of time. We may do damage and then die, but life will never cease.

Sounds apathetic, right? Why should we minimize our impact when the world will recover without us? Why shouldn’t we kill other organisms? Vegetarianism often goes hand in hand with climate change advocacy, but vegetarianism is a practice that demands humans forget what kind of animal they are. We are omnivores. Why should we feel guilt over following our basic biological imperatives?

I’m not here to stop anyone from helping to prevent climate change because of their morals. I’m all for doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. Possibly, I am the one with the wrong reasons. But if you read this believing that fighting climate change is only for bleeding-heart liberals who would put the life of a rhino over their own, I invite you to reconsider. Climate change has been proven to be real. It may kill any number of other species. In the long run, it will certainly kill us. That is the fact of the matter, and that is why I invite you to stop the damage while we can. I invite you to be a human with me.

Live to survive.

Macy Quigg is 16 years old and attends Ingraham High School. She enjoys writing and other activities that mostly enable her to procrastinate writing.

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