My Climate Change Manifesto

Photo courtesy of Allison Ludlow

Photo courtesy of Allison Ludlow

Author and environmentalist Bill McKibben views climate change as “the greatest crisis humans have yet faced.”

The overwhelming majority of scientists believe that climate change plays a pivotal role in environmental systems and that it’s a direct result of human activity. If there is any time that we should trust science, it’s now. As humans, we constantly exploit the environment for profit and convenience, while seldom giving back to it. This has led to the extinction of a great number of species in the world, and will ultimately lead to the demise of the human population. 

From a young age, I have developed an affinity for nature, and understanding climate change has completely altered my lifestyle. The natural world has always served as my mental escape, and I hold a lot of compassion for all life on Earth.

As I have gained knowledge on the climate crisis, I’ve experienced feelings of guilt and sorrow knowing that everyone is part of the problem, and that economics and politics are the complicated roadblock standing in the way of climate justice. 

In my Moravian course last year, Climate change on an International Scale, the final project was to convey the issue through art. I took this opportunity to create a moving piece to teach the class about the impact human activity has on the environment.

Throughout the semester, I collected dead bees around campus to strike the audience’s emotion by using biotic organisms to portray the cost of human activity and the effect we have on vital organisms to the ecosystem. I believe that when it comes to climate change, education is the most important part, because if people aren’t educated, nobody will feel inclined to make effective changes. I took this chance and thought about the impact that my expression through words, thoughts, and art could have on people around me, and it was an optimistic feeling and something I wanted to pursue.

As someone coming of age in the world of climate change, I feel a strong inclination towards making positive changes and hopefully impacting those around me to make changes as well.

As I age, I’ll do my part by continuing to decrease consumption of single-use plastics, including utensils, water bottles, convenience items, and plastic food packaging. I’ll continue to turn off water and lights when I’m not using them, compost, take shorter showers, and walk or bike when possible. 

The most far-reaching thing I have done and will continue to practice is abstaining from the consumption of animal products. Animal agriculture has turned into a highly unsustainable practice and is disproportionately responsible for biodiversity loss, deforestation, and all major greenhouse gas emissions.

Luckily for us, everyone has a conscious decision to make on how to live every day. Not everyone needs to become vegetarian or vegan, but if everyone can make a conscious effort to lower their consumption of animals, the environmental impact will be remarkable; all it takes is an open mind and willingness to change. 

Education and awareness are predominant factors in combating the climate crisis.

It only means so much if I adopt these practices; the challenge is to help others understand the weight their actions have on the environment. I try to help those around me understand the impact of their choices, especially regarding their diet. I learned this lifestyle from my cousin who had a large impact on me, and my goal is to be that person for others.

I aim to speak about these things with my friends and family, and be vocal with strangers when the opportunity presents itself in class or at work. I’ve found that once people truly understand the effects of their consumption, they welcome these positive changes into their lives.

I’m dedicating my life to conservation and spreading environmental awareness. By majoring in environmental science and minoring in journalism, I give myself the professional freedom to have a voice on environmental matters through writing and art, that will hopefully resonate with a large number of people. With this professional repertoire, I’ll grant myself a voice that reaches a further audience than that of a college student, and if I can make an impact on just one person that reads my work, I will have reached my goal.

Climate change impacts the whole world, and if I can use my voice to bring people together and generate a sense of hope and action, I will fulfill what I have set out to do in life knowing I had a positive impact on a reality that affects everyone.