Jayel’s Climate Story
Philadelphia, United States
How are you sensing climate change?
My climate story starts in the house I grew up in with my dad. He used to live in Uptown Philadelphia. While I don’t remember anything happening with the climate at that house, I remember there wasn’t convenient and healthy food access. There were corner stores, fast food places, and places like pizza spots, but there weren’t any nearby grocery stores. Of course, I’d get food from those places like chips from the corner store or donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts, but not “real” food. I lived in that house until I was around eight, so I don’t exactly remember the grocery shopping trips, but I do remember that the stores weren’t close. Even the ones that were close didn’t sell good quality food. For example, their fruits and vegetables might not be fresh or the store wouldn’t be the cleanest suggesting their products wouldn’t be either. My dad would always give me healthy and balanced meals with fruits and vegetables, although he had to go out far to a good grocery store. These situations can be called food deserts, where good quality food is hard to find and/or very expensive. I’ve found that food deserts like this are caused by climate change. The reason climate change can affect food production and scarcity is that the temperatures rising are contributing to the stress of livestock and the decrease of crops. Also, when livestock are too stressed, their meat will not be good or be of great quality for human consumption. Lastly, the heat can dry and stress out plants and crops which brings less product. Another factor is the distance of grocery stores so far away that people with no form of transportation can’t get food or people with reliable forms of transportation might be contributing to air pollution by riding things like a car or any vehicle that emits carbon dioxide. This brings some people having to pay a higher price for good quality for them and their families to eat because of distance. Those families that can barely afford bad quality food but still want to keep their families healthy have to suffer and choose what they should prioritize more: health or supporting their family financially. Of course, they would want to choose both, but since food production is decreasing and good quality food is expensive and far, there isn’t much of a choice anymore.
How do these changes make you feel?
I feel helpless about this because I know this problem can’t be solved with just one person in a few days, so it’ll take time, but that’s more time people have to live without reliable food access.
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