(Photo courtesy of Doyoon Kim)
Cleveland Charter High School

Message to my next president: We need to change the discussion on climate change

Dear future president,

These next four years are not going to be easy. Just by looking at what we’ve been through together as a nation this past year, from a national pandemic to the California wildfires, to police brutality, to the Black Lives Matter protests, it’s going to be a challenge.

While all of these topics are very important, there has been one issue during the past four years that needs your attention: Climate change.

It’s no secret that our Earth is facing rapid environmental degradation, and I urge you to tackle this issue head-on throughout your presidency. Climate change isn’t just an issue facing America; it’s an issue impacting all nations of the world and I’d like to bring your attention to this matter in order to create a safe and sustainable planet for future generations.

On July 1, 2017, after initially signing on board, the United States exited the Paris Agreement, an agreement that would have changed the discussion on climate change. Representatives from 196 countries met together to combat climate change and agreed on several measures to reduce our harmful impact on Earth. Such a gesture by the U.S has significantly hindered collective efforts to reduce our environmental footprint.

As one of the world’s dominant powers and the second-highest contributor to carbon dioxide emissions, we decided to ignore an issue that affects all of us on a global scale. This isn’t a political issue, nor should it be black and white, but as human beings, we have a duty to leave the planet as a better place than when we first encountered it.

With the rise of misinformation and conspiracy in the age of the internet, many of our politicians have refused to believe in climate change and global warming. We need to set aside our political divide and focus on our humanity. I hope that with your presidency, there is a greater effort made to raise awareness about climate change, and how we can work together to solve it.

Sea levels are rising, species are disappearing more quickly than ever, the number of natural disasters is increasing, our oceans are acidifying. Our planet is getting hotter and hotter, and it is frustrating when some people still refuse to believe that our Earth is dying.

We need more accessible environmental education for the public and need to support our grassroots environmental movements who are striving to make meaningful change. We need to stop multibillionaire companies from destroying our ecosystems for economic profit and work closely with our climate scientists to help create safe eco-friendly solutions. We need to lower our output of emissions from commercial and residential buildings and have increased government-funded environmental programs to regulate and reevaluate our needs and reliance on the environment.

Most importantly — we want our citizens to care for our planet.

The problems that are affecting our overall Earth is vast, and time is running out, but through national awareness and a more concerted effort, we can fight climate change and allow for future generations to enjoy the extraordinary beauty of our Earth.

We are counting on you to help guide us to a more promising future.


Best wishes,

Doyoon Kim

Cleveland High School

Los Angeles, Calif.