We have ten years to make a difference with our actions before climate change becomes irreversible. I’m 12 years old right now, and ten years from now I’ll only be in my early twenties. There is a lot that must be done in a short time period to ensure a livable planet for my generation and all future generations. 

What concerns me most about climate change is the amount of time we have left to stop it. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that we have only ten years to dramatically reduce our CO2 output in order to reach net zero emissions. We have ten years to make a difference with our actions before climate change becomes irreversible. I’m 12 years old right now, and ten years from now I’ll only be in my early twenties. There is a lot that must be done in a short time period to ensure a livable planet for my generation and all future generations. 

 

In my lifetime, I have seen the effects of climate change in my hometown of Johnston, Iowa. My family and I used to see snow falling when we would step outside around Christmastime. More recently we’ve started to see rain instead, and a high of 46 degrees. The weather is not what it should be normally. On top of these changes, I see trash and plastic on the ground all the time, and it’s an everyday reminder of how much needs to be done. 

 

My climate activism began when I attended my first climate strike in February this year. From there, Johnston council member Rhonda Martin and I started hosting trash pickups in our local school districts. This has been ongoing since March 2020 and we’re continuing them through this pandemic wearing masks. I also started a Climate Change Committee, where council members Scott Syroka and Rhonda Martin are regular attendees. It’s reassuring that our council members are participating alongside the people of Johnston and helping get the word out. At a recent online meeting we discussed sending a letter to the Mayor about taking steps towards being more carbon friendly and using less carbon in our daily lives. We are in the process of collecting signatures from Johnston residents to send out with the letter in August.

 

There are many more things I’m working to accomplish in the near future. Late this summer, the new mayor’s office is getting solar panels, and my family is looking to do the same for our home. I want to start a program here that will make it more affordable for individuals to install solar panels. I’m also writing letters to council members and advocating for an annual, free carbon emission study for our city partnering with the University of Iowa.

 

We cannot wait until climate change gets any worse. We cannot waste any more time to act. We need to pressure companies into being more environmentally friendly and start going green as whole cities. Since many people don’t take climate change seriously, we need to teach everyone that this isn’t something to joke about. There are 8 billion people on earth who can join the movement against climate change. Together, we need to take bold, extreme actions while we still have time.

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Lillian Hill

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