The Earth is Dying


Courtesy of Twitter

Social media pinpoints the different uses of the money donated towards the reconstruction of the Notre-Dame Cathedral

Tiffany Vo, Photojournalist

On April 15, a blazing fire broke out beneath the roof of the historical and monumental Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Although there were no deaths, three injuries were reported. Onlookers and people around the world watched in shock and sadness as the 800 year old cathedral collapsed live on social media. Since then, multiple sources have offered their assistance in donating money towards the reconstruction of the landmark. According to ABC News, $339 million was raised in under twenty hour hours, some sources claim that up to one billion was donated, and along with worldwide support, three french billionaires pledged 600+ million euros.


When the news of donations reached social media, immediate backlash followed. People were publicly displeased with the huge amount of money raised under such a small time frame. Twitter user @INDIEWASHERE felt “sad” that the building burnt down, but “people are starving, homeless, dying, and have no access to clean water.” Another user, @TheFliestPlane, highlights how “$339 million dollars” was raised under twenty hours, but “Flint still has no clean water.” User @ajzfern also emphasizes how the one billion dollars would be “enough to clean up all of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”


Isabel Maria Silva (@1962Christian) asks “what is so wrong with wihing other generations” the ability to see the 800+ year old Cathedral, for it is “no problem” for those who do not donate. Still, @morguwu replies that other generations “won’t even exist” if humans don’t “fix [the] mess we made on earth” now. User @lillyeilish also switches perspectives when she states that a “plastic-free ocean has been there for over a million years,” thus “what is wrong with wishing other generations to get to experience that too?”


Being the most famous Catholic church in the Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages, the Notre Dame Cathedral without a doubt has significant cultural and historical impact ( However, young adults and students have a right to be upset towards the actions performed by the wealthy. The Earth is dying. People are dying. Climate change, caused by anthropogenic activities, is heavily transforming the planet for the worse. With clearly enough money to preserve and save the planet, it is a wonder why rich billionaires, and privileged people in general, ignore basic human crises.


While others can argue that everyone has a choice to spend their money how they wish, since they have worked for it, it still puts in perspective how easily rich individuals can end world hunger, poverty, lack of clean water, lack of access to healthcare, and lack of education. AJ Song (12) realizes that “although people do have the freedom to philanthropically donate their money to whichever cause they desire,” it is still a “sad reality.” When there are real innocent people dying and everyone turns a blind eye, but a building burns down and hundreds of millions of dollars are donated, there is a clear reason why people are unsettled.

Grace Kim (12) agrees that there is an “issue with how people value a monument over human lives.” When it comes to down to picking and choosing what and who to help,  “we, as humans, should always value and help one another.”