Maya’s Climate Story
Beaverton, OR 97008
How are you sensing climate change?
I believe one of the smaller hallmark moments that really opened my eyes to the effects of climate change was noticing how hazy the summer months had become. The summer between 8th grade and the beginning of high school, I remember some of my friends asking if I wanted to go to the river to swim, but I had to decline due to the air quality being higher than normal. There weren’t any large wildfires in our vicinity, yet the smoke and air particulates that were a culmination of dust, fire smoke from distant fires, and smog all contributed to my lack of summer plans. I have asthma and have known since I was a child that my lungs were especially sensitive to declining air quality. While inhaling unhealthy air is dangerous in the long run for anyone, it has immediate effects on people with asthma and can cause great difficulty breathing or asthma attacks. Each summer since, the air has continuously been spotty in terms of air quality, with the “clear” days only becoming more and more scarce.
How do these changes make you feel?
As someone that enjoys outdoor recreation in multiple forms, from kayaking to running to rock climbing, it’s extremely disheartening to know that my access to the outdoors (which, in of itself, is a privilege for multiple reasons that I acknowledge and continue to strive for outdoor equality and reparations) is fleeting. I become angry with the greed that has plagued our world but pauses to reflect on my own selfishness in wanting to be able to go outside. I also have feelings of guilt that I cannot shake because I as a consumer have the ability to divest from companies that benefit from climate change, yet I also understand that individualism is placed upon us as a tactic to misplace the blame on ourselves rather than the systemic problems that are actually to blame. Overall, I think the emotions that I consistently feel are that of conflicting concern and confusion. I am constantly unsure of where to place my faith, money, and time, and I am scared that we as a world are not collectively doing enough to combat the effects of climate change that are becoming ever so apparent (and have been apparent to marginalized communities).
Beaverton, OR USA
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