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Profile: Benjamin Portnoy

In today’s world, we face a wide array of pressing issues. Poverty and corruption run rampant in all corners of the globe. However, no matter the severity of these issues, there is a single concern that is considerably more serious than anything mentioned previously, and that happens to be climate change.

Climate change doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t affect people based on race, creed, or gender. It is an alarmingly universal problem that is felt by every single organism on this planet. To turn a blind eye to this is something that we simply cannot afford to do. Climate change is no longer something that will affect only our distant relatives far into the future, it is an issue that affects us in this present moment.

Now, when someone says that power lies in the hands of the government, they are sorely mistaken. Power lies in the hands of the people, and there are many who underestimate that virtue. To those doubters, it is our duty to truly demonstrate just where the power lies. More specifically, it lies in a particular demographic: young people. I will repeat a common mantra, but only because it is so powerful: We ARE the future. Because we are the ones that will be living on this overheating planet alongside our children and grandchildren. Some of us might not even be old enough to vote yet, but in due time, we will be the presidents, prime ministers, and the chancellors that lead our respective nations.

However, the fight doesn’t start when we are old enough to run for office. It starts right now, in this present moment. What I’ve seen from young people in this last couple of years has been quite empowering. In my hometown of New York City, it was astonishing to see the sheer number of students that gathered in support of the fight against climate change. Frankly, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It’s incredible to see so many students from across the globe connecting and enabling themselves to create real change. We have created a robust army without a single gun, an abominable force without a shred of violence. The war is far from over, but we’ve had a hell of a start.


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