Bryce’s Climate Story


Bryce Van Derveer


Colorado Springs, CO 80906

How are you sensing climate change?

Growing up in Colorado Springs, I’ve always experienced drought. It was normal to my eyes, I knew no different, but I remember 2012 feeling different. It was a particularly dry spring and summer that year and there were routing warnings about fire safety throughout the community, even on the pinboards at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, which I was attending that June day. I recall pointing out a small-looking column of smoke out to the NW, a fair ways away. It wasn’t uncommon to have small fires throughout the summer, so we weren’t very worried at the time, even finishing our zoo trip. Needless to say, this fire became huge, forcing myself and many of my neighbors to flee. The Waldo Canyon fire went on to take 2 lives and burn more than 18,000 acres of woods and developments west of my hometown. Though the fire was deemed to be human-caused, its believed that the excessive dryness and unusually high winds that season were responsible for its growth, and the inevitable charring of a beloved stretch of the mountainside.

How do these changes make you feel?

I was and still am saddened by the burn scars. I had a lot of anxiety this last September during the Mckenzie River Holiday Farm fire, fleeing almost immediately upon hearing the news, despite not being in any immediate danger. Knowing that drought had a hand in both of these frightening events is heartbreaking. An Environmental Ethics class I’m in has helped inform my love of the mountains. The land is owed its own standing, and watching it burn was really difficult.




Colorado Springs, CO

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