Did you know that Reno and Las Vegas are two of the fastest warming cities in the United States ? As a native Nevadan, this both shocks and worries me. Reno has always been my home, and I hope it always will be. But the effects of climate change could change the beautiful city I’ve always known into a place I don’t want to live. Our state, our country, and our world are in danger as a result of climate change.
I am 14. I wasn’t around when the Pacific Garbage Patch started forming, or when humans invented cars that released carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Such things cause climate change, a threat my peers and I face as we grow up. It’s an issue with disastrous consequences that we will be forced to handle, even though we didn’t create the problem. Climate change isn’t such a pressing issue for my parents or our Congress people, because this threat will create its most disastrous consequences long after they’re gone.
That’s why I joined Schools for Climate Action (S4CA). The S4CA is a non-partisan, grassroots, youth-adult campaign with a mission to empower schools and students to speak up for climate action in order to protect current and future generations. As a member of the S4CA, I believe climate change is not a political issue, but rather, a generational justice and humanitarian issue. About 30 members of the S4CA, including myself, will be heading to Washington , D.C. to meet with Congress people and advocate for climate change. We will be hand-delivering our
school district’s and student council’s climate action resolutions on Capitol Hill.
Here in Washoe County , the school board passed a climate action resolution in December, 2018. I spoke at the meeting that day, presenting to the board my stance on climate change. I might just be one voice, but as a student and young person, I have a powerful position in the fight for climate action. I am the only member of the S4CA going to D.C. from Nevada , so I will be delivering the resolution to the Nevada delegation. I’m also working with my school’s student council to pass a climate action resolution.
I wish it wasn’t so hard to get people to agree on climate action. Every day, the clock is ticking. We are losing our Earth. I love going to Lake Tahoe . I’m really lucky that I live close enough to go often. But climate change is even hurting my backyard. Lake Tahoe has warmed by more than 6 degrees in the last three years, and it’s only getting warmer. The air temperature at the lake is warming every year, too, and Tahoe, known for its clarity, is getting murkier by the day. I was shocked when I found out that climate change was affecting the lake. I knew it was harmful in other regions, but its magnitude didn’t hit me until I learned that it affects me personally. I think that’s the mindset for a lot of people: they don’t see the immediate effect of climate change close to home.
There are plenty of steps we can take to stop and reverse climate change. One that I really like is Project Drawdown. It offers 100 comprehensive solutions to reverse climate change. There are many suggested solutions specific to women and girls. I also adore the book, “Drawdown—The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming,” edited by Paul Hawken..
I think the Green New Deal is great, in theory. If we all work together, the U.S. could be running on 100 percent clean energy. One of the most important steps is to communicate. I can’t do it alone; the S4CA can’t do it alone, which is why we’re going to D.C. Educating people, young people and adults, is crucial. People need to understand the immediate effects of climate change. The problem is urgent, and the more people on board, the better.
Of course, there are smaller things we can all do, too, like recycling and composting and using reusable utensils, water bottles, and canvas bags instead of plastic bags. If we all do these simple things, we can save Lake Tahoe and save our future generations from the consequences of climate change. We can keep Nevada the beautiful state that it is. As long as it takes, I will fight for my rights to a clean, wholesome, beautiful Earth.
And everyone should do the same.
Carrie DeBarger is a high school freshman from Reno . She is a youth climate activist, a member of the Schools for Climate Action organization, and a lover of hiking and exploring the beautiful Sierra Nevada . For more information on Schools for Climate Action: https://schoolsforclimateaction.weebly.com/