Orange County School of the Arts

My message: Protect our environment

Dear future president

Protecting the environment is the most important problem we face today; we must do this while protecting economic interests, without ignoring global inequality.

Southern California is a great place. We enjoy crystal-blue waters that give a musical background to beaches that shine under the sun. The breeze whispers through glorious summer days as the temperature hovers around 80 degrees. In winter, the sky is a beautiful clear blue, framed by snow-dusted mountains. But things are changing. The ocean is often a polluted grey, dotted with floating plastic bags and soda rings. Summer temperatures routinely top 100 degrees. Sometimes smog obscures formerly majestic mountains.

The climate is changing, and not for the better. While individual weather patterns cannot determine global climate changes, there’s clear evidence of the destruction global climate change has, and will bring. And while the Southern California beaches aren’t pristine, the rest of the world faces harsher consequences. Island nations may disappear; species may go extinct; the food supply may be disrupted; extreme weather patterns may occur.

But we can’t sacrifice economic health when working toward climate health. We need to unite both environmentalists and economists; business owners and botanists; investors and indigenous peoples. There are policies that can serve both these groups, like cap-and-trade practices and Energy Saving Performance Contracts. We can unite both economic and environmental leaders to create policies that help both.

Sincerely,

Zina Meyer

Orange Country School of the Arts

Santa Ana, Calif.