The Caldor fire burns at Caples Lake near the Kirkwood ski resort September 1. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Opinion

Opinion: Our planet is reminding us that climate change is real

When visiting Lake Tahoe in late July, my family and I saw beautiful sunsets, shimmering bodies of water, and … plenty of smoke. Since we visited the area in summer, the situation with uncontrollable fires has exacerbated. The Caldor fire has destroyed hundreds of structures and hit thousands of acres of land. The place I…
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/ellabilu/" target="_self">Ella B.</a>

Ella B.

September 12, 2021

When visiting Lake Tahoe in late July, my family and I saw beautiful sunsets, shimmering bodies of water, and … plenty of smoke. Since we visited the area in summer, the situation with uncontrollable fires has exacerbated. The Caldor fire has destroyed hundreds of structures and hit thousands of acres of land. The place I recently visited is under fire, and climate change is partly at fault.

Summer after summer, children can’t leave their homes for several days due to the smoky weather. I couldn’t go on my routine mile walks, kids’ summer camps were being cancelled, and firefighters were being asked to do the impossible.

A couple months ago, the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, a body of water, caught on fire. That’s not natural. Then, Germany’s streets were flooded, causing $1.5 Billion in damage and leaving dozens dead. Meanwhile, billionaires who are owners of major corporations such as Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, are mostly at fault for this severe climate change. Instead of *actually* fighting against the cause, they are sending out performative statements that have no true significant impact. 

Our Earth, our home, is trying to tell us something. Climate change is real and we aren’t going to see progress until we take action, until elected officials all over the world even acknowledge that it’s real. The first step to improving the status quo is acknowledging the severity that comes with climate change.

It’s well-recognized among climate scientists that we will eventually meet a point of no return. On August 10, UN Scientists warned “Code red for humanity,” as global warming exacerbated, according to AP News.

Co-author of the report and senior climate scientist, Linda Mearn told AP News, “It’s just guaranteed that it’s going to get worse.”

We already know the severe implications of global warming: Severe weather will become more frequent and worse, higher death rates, higher sea levels, dirtier air, more wildlife extinction, and that’s not even all of it. The effects should be politicians’ worst nightmares, yet the majority of them do not take the time to fully address the consequential matter at hand. Many of them are too occupied with advocating against masks and vaccines for them to worry about what’s actually going to hurt us the most.

It’s time our approach to environmental issues changes. We must hold those at fault responsible ,and the people we elected to fight our issues accountable. It doesn’t always seem that the people in charge will take action, that’s how Greta Thunberg felt. When I say it’s our turn to take action, I mean Generation Z. Millennials, feel free to join in too.

It’s cliche, but our generation is the future. Being able to recognize our problems now is going to be so useful for us in the future. First, big corporations need to join the movement to fight against climate change. Environmental issues aren’t caused by one southern Texan who drank a plastic bottle of water and forgot to recycle it. Rather, the problems are caused by Amazon, Walmart, Chevron, ExxonMobile, and other massive companies, some well known and some not. In 2017, a study found that solely 100 companies are responsible for over 70% of global emissions! On top of making minor changes in our own lives, we need to make sure those who are MOSTLY at fault make changes too.

My whole life, I’ve lived through intense summer heat and worrisome droughts. It seems like every other week that I’m hearing about a new natural disaster, one likely worsened by climate change. I don’t want to have a fear that if I have my own children, they’ll be wiped out in 2062 by a climate change induced hurricane. My taxes might have to go to repairing damage from climate change, rather than homelessness and funding public schools. If we don’t act now, all of that could be a reality.  

Emailing companies and encouraging them to change their ways is an okay start. Calling them out on social media and getting thousands of likes is even better. Boycotting the company until they make the necessary improvements to their way of operating is even better. Some other things that you can do to make an impact are switching to “green power,” cutting your water usage, and recycling.  

I, for one, dedicated my Girl Scout Silver Award project towards environmental education. I made patch programs for my fellow scouts where they can learn about pressing topics like deforestation and trash while earning a patch for their vests and sashes. For some time, I also had an Instagram where I created infographics (informative graphics) and taught environmental issues. Although my silver award is coming to an end, I will not stop fighting for what is right. 

In the end, it is up to *us* to make change. The previous generations have failed us, so it’s our turn now. Let’s not fail the future generations, our children’s generations. Let the United States fight climate change, and fight it now. We’ve waited long enough.