Gloria’s Climate Story
Highlands Ranch, United States
How are you sensing climate change?
I played competitive soccer for all of my childhood. When I was young, the structure of our games were two 45 minute halves, with a short intermission in between. It was often that I’d play a game without any substitutions—a full 45 minutes of running. This is how I’ve always known a soccer game: running along sprawling grass fields with my team under the sun. In my last year of playing competitive soccer as a senior in high school, the weather at the beginning of the season, which began at the end of summer, was unbearably hot. So unbearably hot that several players throughout the league had passed out or fainted due to heat exhaustion. In order to ameliorate that, the league instituted a water break rule that allowed a referee to pause the game for a quick 5 minute break that allowed players to get into the shade and drink water to prevent overheating. Teams started bringing tents so we could sit under the shade when we were on the bench. The game was no longer trying to play your best so you wouldn’t get subbed out, but to conserve your energy under the hot sun so that you wouldn’t pass out from the heat. I knew at this moment that climate change had killed my cherished childhood sport, and the joy that I got from running around under the sun for all of my childhood will turn into running around in burning heat for the generations after me.
How do these changes make you feel?
When I was playing games, I found myself more and more exhausted as the temperature continued to rise. I was disappointed that the changing temperatures had affected my childhood fun, and I gained a sense of urgency to fight against climate change. I also thought about how the change in the game was so subtle, that many people just thought that there were one off hot days where we had the pleasure of having extra water breaks. How many people would not attribute this to climate change and have the same sense of urgency instilled in them that I had. I hoped that everyone would understand the implications of this and the importance of mitigating the effects of climate change as it has finally hit our own neighbourhood.
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