How Climate Injustice Changed My Life


Credit: Grace A.

“But, Mom, I’m scared! I don’t want to talk to a random stranger!” The little girl buried her face in her mom’s shirt as she shook with waves of anxiety. She turned around to watch her friends run through the streets, occasionally stopping to ask someone to fill out their survey. She didn’t know what was wrong with her. She was so excited for this until she actually had to talk to someone that she didn’t know. 

“Hera, this is part of the assignment. How about you go with your friend? She can talk to the first person, and then you can talk to the next.” 

She thought about it, and then started to hesitantly walk towards her friend.

But, wait, let me explain. This might seem like a normal story of an anxious little girl, but in reality, this little girl was me, and this was the day that changed my life altogether.

Ever since I was little, like many other children, I had always bounced between different ideas of jobs that I wanted to do. I wanted to do the classic ones, like being an astronaut or being a chef. I also wanted to do dangerous jobs, like being a spy. Though I had lots of ideas, I never stuck to one entirely. I only wanted to be an astronaut for a few months; I was turned off by the idea that I might get stuck in space if my rocket broke. I didn’t want to be a spy after I learned that I might need to hurt people. I didn’t want to be a chef after I learned I might need to work seven days a week. However, this day was the day that little me would find her dream job. A scientist. 

As I remember, we were just starting unit three in our science class. I was living in the small city of Ottawa, Canada, my class consisted of four people, and my teacher was my mom. Today, we were going to learn about climate change. Before this day, I had never even heard of the term. At the start of class, my mom- or teacher- gave us a lesson on what climate change was. In the second half of class, we were going to go out into the street to ask people how they got to work. We wanted to learn about how transportation contributed to climate change. 

After we went back to our classroom, my classmates and I started to learn how to plot our data into a chart. We’d found that most people drove their car to work, while the least amount of people walked. For some reason, analyzing our data sparked interest in my young mind. I was immediately hooked on the topic. Being someone who loved nature, I was so worried about the effects that climate change would have. Even after class ended, I kept asking my mom about global warming and climate change. I watched videos about it, and even read a few articles. Even I was surprised by my own behavior. At that moment, third grade me made a promise to myself. I would work hard to become a scientist and one day be part of the cause to help stop climate change.

I’m now in ninth grade, yet I’m still as passionate about this topic as I was six years ago. Since then, I’ve moved countries, and went to many other schools. Over these past years, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve done research projects, speeches, and essays devoted to climate change. I try to educate all my friends and family about it, and I try to spread the word. Not many people that I’ve spoken to that are my age really know what Climate change really is, because it is not usually taught in schools. Because of this, there are many people who don’t listen to me, but I try not to get discouraged, because I know that there are so many more who will. Perhaps I’m being naïve, but I know that part of little me’s determination is still inside me today, and I hope that one day, I can fulfill my promise and make her proud.