You are sitting in the driver’s seat of your car anxiously watching the amount on the screen go up as you fill up your gas tank, hoping and praying that it comes out a little cheaper this time.
You cringe as it is time to pay, but you accept it as just being the norm and pay up.
This is a scenario not unfamiliar to many students at Saint Peter’s, a large population of whom are commuters.
Gas is just one of the expenses college students need to take into consideration.
The problem? Prices are constantly fluctuating.
This gas comes from oil that is pumped from the earth, and in the United States, about 60 percent of oil is imported from other countries.
Saudi Arabia, one of those countries, is responsible for producing approximately 10 million barrels per day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Saudi Arabia has also just faced an attack on two of its oil facilities, which were set ablaze prompting international fear that gas prices would surge.
Gas prices did go up, by about 10 cents a gallon.
President Donald Trump reassured Americans that if it is needed, oil would be released from the Strategic Petroleum Preserve to stabilize demand and keep prices from going up in the United States, the world’s greatest producer of oil.
But Trump was also tweeting about something else as he was reassuring Americans.
His tweet was directed at the country being blamed for the attack, Iran.
Trump wrote, “There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!”
He followed this tweet by placing further sanctions on Iran, and there are talks in the White House of using military strikes against Iran. Iran has responded saying it was not responsible for the attack against Saudi Arabia; the Iranians claim that any attack on them would cause a war.
Iran and the United States have a strained and complicated history that began long before Trump became president, but in recent years, tensions have escalated as Trump has threatened violence and placed crippling sanctions on the country, which threatens retaliation.
Saudi Arabia, an ally of the United States, has its own issues with Iran.
The United States is extremely dependent on oil; if Saudi Arabia went to war with Iran over this oil attack, there is a very real possibility that the United States could follow.
This reliance on oil has spurred the emergence of youth climate activists all over the world who are demanding that their politicians act quickly and efficiently to combat the climate catastrophe being caused by fossil fuels such as oil. The strike on Sept. 20 comes three days before the United Nations gather for a climate action summit in New York.
The climate activists will continue to take the streets on Fridays until their demands are met.
A move towards clean energy, such as wind and solar power, is one of the things they suggest to combat the use of oil, which they explain has catastrophic consequences for the planet, people’s health and livelihood.
Desiree Armas is a Saint Peter’s student majoring in environmental studies and social justice, who took part in the climate strike and has been demanding a change from her political leaders.
“I decided to strike with other youth because the system has failed all of us. We have been left to fend for ourselves by our political leaders. The point of the strike is to unite and mobilize together as youth, as the future leaders of the world, and to bring awareness to the climate emergency,” she said.
Armas explained that it is important that the youth lead this path towards change because “having young people across the world do what our ‘leaders’ should be doing, sends a message of new hope- of a revolution that is brewing and cannot be stopped.”
Armas believes that the climate crisis was not caused by one political leader or administration; it was caused by a collection of world leaders who have collectively done nothing to stop it, and instead allowed, “the fossil fuel industry’s unethical and neglectful actions that have put us all in danger.”
She says that it is not only the climate crisis that has put youth in danger, but the way that oil is brought to the market in the first place.
“The war for oil is yet another profit-driven and xenophobic thirst for profit. Trump’s willingness to go to war ignores the cost war can have on everyday civilians and the innocent.”
Armas is determined to see a better world and a brighter future.
To the youth like herself she says, “Unless we mobilize and go out into the streets, vote and spread love, not war, we will continue to see our own species’ downfall no matter who’s in office.”