Re: “Underwater and on fire: U.S. climate change magnifies extremes” [Sept. 19, Science]:

Recently, my school principal, spurred by the ongoing wildfires across the state, held an all-grade assembly urging us to consider how collective optimism healed the country after 9/11.

But unlike 9/11, these fires are not just independent tragedies but indicators of the effects of climate change.

Whether through a carbon fee and dividend or a Green New Deal, we need to drive down the output of carbon in the atmosphere fast. Teenage mobilization is essential to persuading lawmakers to act on climate legislation. Telling students to remain optimistic without also urging action achieves nothing.

Instead of invoking cautious optimism when talking about 9/11, teachers should point to the mass anti-war protests and grassroots organization that resulted from public outcry about the Iraq war, where teenagers and adults fought to change federal action.

We cannot control the immediate danger of these fires, nor can we return the lives of those who perished. But we can ensure the next generation is prepared to take action.

Jacob Herbold, 16, Renton