While we were unable to host a Kids Climate Summit for 2022, the community still was able to MAKE SOME NOISE! We are excited to present the submissions to the Climate Change NOISE Challenges. Please enjoy these amazing works and we hope they inspire you to learn more about the climate.
There are 5 pages of submissions to be viewed:
Page 1 - Alaina M., Roycemore Roots and Shoots Club, Linden P., Andrew M., Linda Wallin, Claire Bermaum, Mariana M., Inika
Page 2 - Lyra R., Amelia R., Emilie B.
Page 3 - Anika Chandola, Laxmiprasad, Anika B.
Page 4 - Srinrsimha Katakam, Anisha K.
Page 5 - Nora Berbaum, Kalyan
TOPIC: WHAT DOES CLIMATE CHANGE MEAN TO ME?
Climate change isn’t noticeable but a dangerous change in the climate. It may seem like our world is perfectly fine, but that is not the case.
Climate change, to understand it you need to learn about it. DEFINITION: “A change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.”
Climate change is caused by many things. One way Climate change happens is due to “generating electricity and heat by burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas causes a large chunk of global emissions. Most electricity is still produced from fossil fuels; only about a quarter comes from wind, solar, and other renewable sources.”
Now it is time I tell you what Climate change means to me. Climate change to me means disaster. If we don’t act, By 2050, there will be an increase in the Climate-related hazards. It is a matter of great concern today. There are thousands of dangers but they can be broken down into five major categories: Increased drought, wildfires, increased flooding, extreme weather, and loss of O2. To add, the North and South poles along with other icy valleys' ice will melt, animals like sea lions, polar bears, and emperor penguins will die out, and the coral reefs will get affected due to the death of coral because of the temperature increase. Though this situation may seem hopeless, we can still slow it down by increasing the number of solar panels. If we can turn this situation around where we put 75% of renewable energy instead of fossil fuels, the outcome of climate change will change. We can also plant more trees to help in the increase of O2.
In conclusion, we can turn the current situation of Climate change around by caring. Our future doesn’t look so bright because of the change this problem has made, but people can take action. Climate change to me is scary. But people can turn this around by using renewable energy and banning fossil fuels.
by Srinrsimha Katakam
A Breath of Air
I still remember memories of when I was little – of bright blue skies speckled with white fluffy clouds, dazzling sunrises and sunsets where the sun cast its radiance across the land, the comforting trills and chirps of birds and other animals throughout the day. Today, as I stand looking out on the balcony of our small urban home, the past seems but a fleeting dream, a figment of imagination that was never a part of reality. My breath presents itself in sharp, strained puffs that condenses in the frosty air, partially hindered by the mask present on my face that I wear not only to follow public health standards but to prevent the worsening of my asthma. Once upon a time, I could gaze from my current position and admire a series of beautiful mountain ranges that made for an idyllic backdrop across the horizon. Now I can barely discern shapes beyond the opposite row of houses bordering the street below, the thick and heavy smog hampering even the ability to perceive the differences between day and night.
A raspy voice permeates the curtains behind me, and I worriedly hurry towards the figure lying in the bed. Realizing that the balcony doors are left open behind me, I hurriedly shut them before facing my mother once more. There was a time when I kept the windows open in hopes of my mother getting fresh air, but I quickly realized it only exacerbated her condition over time as the air quality in the area deteriorated.
“Amara, are you there?” her fatigued voice calls, reaching out a haggard hand towards me.
Grasping it tightly, I promptly respond, “Yes Mama, I’m here. No need to panic. Take a deep breath.” I smile coaxingly.
A relieved sigh escapes her lips and I momentarily let go of her hand to rearrange the pillows to raise my mother’s head for her to see me. Following my words, she takes a deep breath in an attempt to calm her nerves. However instead of finding solace, a violent cough racks her entire body as she grabs a handkerchief to cover her mouth. I put up a brave front, pretending not to see the bright red blood that stains it. I know inquiring about her condition would only serve to make her worry, and that’s the last thing that I want.
“Wait for a moment. I’ll go grab you a glass of hot water.” I wait for my mother’s acknowledgement before leaving her side and entering the small kitchen directly opposite the bed. Grabbing a glass and holding it under the faucet, I turn the knob to let the water run. Grimacing at the cloudy tinted liquid, I empty the glass and try filling it once again, only to achieve the same result. Setting the glass down on the counter, I reenter my mother’s room to inform her of the situation. “It looks like our water filter is broken again. I’ll have to go buy bottled water from the shop down the street.”
“Oh, dear. We never had any issues before all the industries –” another series of coughs grabs hold of her body, interrupting her speech before she continues. “Settled into town. I guess we’ll have to fix it yet again.” Finishing, she looks at me and sheepishly grins even though we both know that the chances of that happening are slim. We barely have enough savings to cover this month’s rent and bills, let alone pay for the unexpected expense of hiring a plumber. It’s the reason why my mother blatantly refuses treatment. “Be safe!” she calls out as I head out the door, coat and a concerningly thin wallet in tow.
As I run down the stairs, I internally curse myself for not recognizing her frail state earlier. Being raised as a child with a single parent, I was familiar with Mama overworking herself in order to provide a livelihood for the both of us. The feeling of guilt swelled in my chest the day I realized her true condition, which was only a result of her collapsing and wheezing in front of me. When I took her to the hospital later that day, the doctor grimly looked at me, a naive fifteen year old girl, with a somber diagnosis. Lung cancer was what he had identified, likely due to the prolonged exposure to harmful carcinogens both at her workplace and the harmful air pollution that plagues our small city. Even though we live near the outskirts, the toxic fumes that the expanding factories spew, the exhaust from the increasing traffic nearer to the city’s hub, contaminants such as heavy metals from other industrial companies, and other sources of pollution still have an impact on our daily life. If we continue to reside within the same or declining standards, not only is the entire community endangered, the risk of me contracting a respiratory disease or cardiopulmonary ailment is even greater due to my asthma. It is clear that something needs to change.
As I step onto the street and continue walking down the paved road, I glance at the people going about their daily lives, periodically nodding and greeting those I know. Approaching the store-side shop, my eyes settle on the steadily declining selection of local produce put on display. I know that part of the explanation is the decreasing fertility of the soil due to acid rain. As the shopkeeper from behind the stand, he catches sight of me and beams.
“Amara! What can I do for you today?” he asks brightly.
“Nothing much, Mr. Tang. Our water filter broke so we need a package of bottled water.”
Mr. Tang nods understandingly. “That’s very unfortunate news. Masks and bottled water have been in high demand lately. Lucky for you, I still have a few packages to spare.” The man playfully winks before disappearing to the back storage to grab the required item. As I wait, I look around the store frame colorfully covered in flyers and posters marketing sales and events. Some of them are evidently old, faded and creased with time. My eyes settle on a new notice that has an alluring graphic on it.
“‘The pen is mightier than the sword,’” the caption reads. “Write an essay about the problems your community faces for the chance to earn $2,000! Winning entry will be published in our journal and on social media! Online submissions only.”
When Mr. Tang emerges from the back room, he notices my interest in the flyer. “You should definitely do it, Amara. I’ve known you and your mother for more than a decade. Our community needs help. If anyone can capture the problems within our neighborhood, it’s definitely you.” He looks at me with a serious expression fixed on his face. “Not to mention, the cash prize could probably help your family too.” He’s right, but I feel a lot of pressure on my shoulders. What if I can’t portray it right? Can I, a child, even comprehend the complexities in the issues that our community confronts? What if I don’t win and Mama’s situation becomes worse? Staring into Mr. Tang’s face gives me all the confirmation I need, steadying my resolve. I may not be able to guarantee anything, but I can definitely try.
Paying for the water, I turn to leave before Mr. Tang promptly stops me. “Wait. Take the flyer with you. I doubt anyone else is going to enter.” I graciously accept the paper and thank him before hurrying back home. Unlike other times wandering the street, the walk back is a blur as I hold one sole intent in mind, to write.
Entering the house once more, I slowly and quietly shut the door behind me. Taking a glimpse at the bed, I notice that Mama had fallen asleep in the time it had taken to go to the store and back. Carefully setting down the heavy package on the kitchen countertop, I take one of the water bottles and grab my laptop from my school backpack. Settling down at the desk in the corner of the room, I open the laptop and enter in the website address listed on the flyer. The words come smoothly as I begin to type a story about our city. The ignored community. The exploiting companies. The disappearing nature. I write about Mama. I write about me. My voice makes a difference. And I will use it.
2 Years Later…
I gaze out from the balcony, admiring the birds perched on the railing. They coo at one another before taking flight to join their flock flying above the buildings a few rows away from our own. I reminisce standing at this very spot on the fateful day two years ago that led me to this moment. Although some smog is still present in the city, a noticeable contrast appears from then and now. After winning the contest, my essay went viral on social media, leading to the formation of a youth council advocating climate change activism in the city. As such, the city committee had started promoting and supporting the incorporation of green infrastructure. Additionally, further investigation into the companies surrounding our area had revealed malpractice and tampering of emission readings that had resulted in charges being pursued. Tighter regulations had and are still being placed in effect, improving air quality, overall pollution levels in our city, and encouraging the native wildlife to return. And as for my mother? Thanks to anonymous donations, she is now undergoing treatment for her cancer and is on the path to recovery.
Heading downstairs, I take a seat inside a black car that drives to the city center. Today is the day that our council will address the public to introduce future initiatives that we hope to implement. After stepping outside, I’m immediately surrounded by a bustling throng of media reporters, journalists, and cameramen. Somewhat startled, I take a deep breath and exhale, my breath no longer hindered or strained by the air that I inhale. Rather, a fresh and cool breeze rustles my hair as I climb onto a raised platform and stand behind the podium.
A reporter eagerly asks me his query. “What does climate change mean to you?” he inquisitively questions.
Although I am fortunate enough to live in a changing community, I know that many other places are not the same. Lacking representation, many issues or areas are often overlooked. That’s why it’s important, more than ever, to make some noise – no matter how big or small – to ensure everyone’s voice is heard. I face the crowd, my stance composed and confident.
“Just two years ago, our streets were devoid of any noise apart from that of traffic. The natural beauty of our neighborhoods was robbed by the thick smog affecting the health of our residents and other aspects of daily life. Now conditions have evidently improved, but it is still important to constantly improve the health of the natural environment and ecosystems. We must ensure that change is being implemented universally, in all communities, that tackle the root of these issues by redefining modern standards, challenging big corporations, and switching to greener alternatives, especially in terms of energy. Not only does climate change threaten the biodiversity and future of the planet, it also condemns the experiences of the younger generations. My dream is to build a clean world where finally, without worry, everyone can take… a breath of air.”
by Anisha K.