By Sofia Murillo, Ben Davis High School
On April 5, I attended the Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment (IN CCIA) press conference to hear a report on the human health impacts of climate change. Along with being an informative and fulfilling experience, it also made me feel pretty sad. The IN CCIA is a series of reports developed by scientists from across the state to showed how a changing climate will affect state and local interests. Led by the Purdue Climate Change Research Center (PCCRC) the presentation at the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital made me face all the things that are left to be done, along with the ones we already can’t do anything about.
A couple of the most disturbing facts I learned are how our health and prosperity have already been affected by the temperature rise and precipitation increase. These changes in our weather go hand in hand with the increase of heart and breathing related diseases, scarcity of resources, and last but not least, how wildlife is and will continue to be tremendously affected.
What are we doing? What am I doing? As a member of the human species that needs the biological process of photosynthesis to survive, I have pondered these questions since I began my teenage days. The answer I have come up for that is that, simply, I exist. My mother brought me to the world on November 29, 1999, but, before that, for my mom to meet my father and take some crazy decisions, her lungs had to take in oxygen to be considered alive, so she could produce life: mine. Such oxygen, that has been flowing around for millions of years, is able to provide us with pure life, thanks to again, photosynthesis. I cannot personally think of a more important process that should be protected.
What the heck would we do without it?
This March I was reborn. I literally stood up from bed one day, and changed my entire life. More than to photosynthesis, I owe to nature the pure passion it has provided me with, which has enabled me to be able to be writing this right now. The right hypothalamus of my brain has encouraged me to develop this awareness, that has just saved me. The ability of sensing the directional flow of wind currents touching my face has given me the most real meaning of what living is, and has made me realize that I must do what is in my hands to thank back mother nature for such happiness.
My first and most important decision was signing up for the AP Environmental Science class at Ben Davis High School in the summer of 2016. From that I formed a bond with Lauren Wyatt, the teacher of that class, and the person who has given me the education to reinforce my passions — which has inspired me to get myself out there. Not long ago, I signed up to be a member of the Indianapolis Youth Tree Tree Team of 2018 with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, which has given me the joy of feeling like I create life, by planting trees, being able to green the city, and improve the energy and water flow. The third most amazing and important decision, was attending to the first Sustainability Summit of Indianapolis at IUPUI with Ms. Wyatt, and meeting Jim Poyser, who has been one of the most supportive and wise people I have ever met.
Now what? How do we become resilient about the ways we can help ourselves, the community in general and future generations, to not only survive these catastrophic consequences, but to overcome each one of them? Is not easy but neither is it impossible. The most important thing I consider that must be done is to work on greening schools by improving education regarding these issues, make this knowledge and these tools more accessible to all communities, with a priority focus on minorities.
Increase the dialogue on this issues, adopt sustainable and clean personal practices like composting and recycling to reduce personal waste, contact and reach legislators to pass policies that can make a change, prepare and adapt for impacts by implementing an emergency response plan, improve the infrastructure and create remediation on algal blooms and pest habitat. We have a long way to go, but there is always hope, connection, love and people with similar interests to work with who can make change, because teamwork makes the dream work.
For more, go to the PCCRC website.