Camille’s Climate Story
Parker, CO 80138 & Eugene, OR 97401
How are you sensing climate change?
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to leave my hometown in Colorado and explore other places. My family and I have always shared traveling as a common interest, and I have been privileged to visit many places that others do not get to see. When I turned 16 and recognized the encroaching deadline of deciding where to go to college, this desire within me to be someplace new was at its peak intensity. I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted to attend a university outside of my home state and find a new place to call home. After what seemed like endless searching, I settled on the University of Oregon and decided to make Eugene, OR my temporary home – with hopes to call Oregon home forever. I felt like I had found a place that was perfect for me and my future endeavors. The summer before my freshman year – in August 2020 – we were driving up from Colorado to Oregon to get me settled into the dorms. My mom and dad and I were all excited about our road trip – despite the constant threat and constraint of COVID-19 – but were faced with the uncertainty of if we’d even make it. At that same time, most of Oregon was ablaze with fiery storms and closed roads brought forth by the dry conditions and intense weather patterns of the changing climate. The sky was orange for most of our drive and it was difficult to breathe if we went outside.
Although we did end up making it to Eugene, Oregon on that trip and the road closures only acted as a momentary obstruction on our journey, my already intense view of climate change was further developed. As an environmental studies-focused student, I have a fairly developed understanding of the threat of climate change and have deep-set anger for the way we as a society have treated the Earth; however, this trip was the first experience I had that illuminated to me the direct threat a changing climate will have on my personal future. All my excitement about living in Oregon and making it my new home faded away as I realized that we might not have our perfectly cloudy and misty Pacific Northwest climate for much longer.
I recognize while telling my climate story that I am so privileged at the climate experience I have had. I do not face the same threats as many and having to move to someplace new is the least of many concerns. That being said, I have seen this lack of excitement and joy for the place I chose as my new home to have had great effects on multiple aspects of my life and it deepens my emotion toward climate change and the human-caused forces that have led to this place of uncertainty and fear. My climate story – one that started in Parker, CO, moved to Eugene, OR, and may move many times over – is one of privilege, but it has affected me greatly and will continue to push me as an Environmental Studies major to make a positive impact wherever and however I can.
How do these changes make you feel?
My experience with the earthy changes I have witnessed and endured have made me feel even stronger about wanting to help the Earth and people who are intensely affected by climate change. There are so many changes happening around us, and everyone will be affected uniquely. I find it crucial to recognize that certain peoples are disproportionately suffering and believe that we must account for that as we move forward. With the same level of intensity, my anger toward climate change and the human-caused nature of it has grown immensely as I personally experience the changes. I am in disbelief that certain people have their eyes closed to the pain and suffering happening around them, and I wish so greatly that we – as a human population – could start over and act with a newfound respect for the earth we live on and the other individuals we share our Earth with.
After taking an environmental ethics class recently, my feelings have even further strengthened. I have grown in my beliefs that we as a society are interconnected – along with the idea that we as humans are also tied to the natural world and nonhuman beings – and we must recognize the effects we’ve had on all aspects and beings of Earth. My anger and disappointment over being in this position of uncertain chaos have grown as I have been shown to recognize just how deeply our unsustainable actions have caused and will cause suffering due to the interconnected nature of Earth.
Parker, CO USA
Eugene, OR USA
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