"Climate change is not something to ignore"

Eighth graders reflect on the state of the planet.

HOUSTON — This week EHN is publishing letters from eighth grade students at YES Prep Northbrook Middle School in the Houston-area neighborhood of Spring Branch, Texas.

English educators Cassandra Harper and Yvette Howard incorporated the environment into a series of lessons in December last year. Each student conducted their own research to begin drafting letters to EHN about their concerns or hopes. EHN reporter Cami Ferrell visited their classrooms to share information about her personal reporting experiences in Houston.

The collection of letters, some of which were lightly edited, do not represent the opinions of YES Prep Northbrook or EHN, but are offered here as a peek into the minds of children and their relationship with environmental issues. Read the first and second set of letters.

Anali Lopez

youth climate change

I am writing to discuss the problem of climate change and how we, citizens, are impacted by it, and how we can prevent the situation from worsening. Although people are familiar with this problem, it also feels like it is not addressed enough for people to start advocating for the world. People are not very persuaded when it comes to changing their actions, until they start seeing the dangers of what they caused, so I hope while you are reading this, you can start being more cautious of what you do or at least spread more awareness.

Climate change is an issue because it is affecting people's daily lives, health, and environment. People barely want to go outside now because of the rising temperatures and the air pollution. Some are even scared to take their children outside or while pregnant because of the fear of their kids having cancer or developing an illness. Air pollution is not getting worse by itself, it is getting worse by the number of forests burning, and the gas people use for their everyday needs. Even on some days people go outside and see that it is completely fogged outside, but it is all the smoke roaming around from factories burning supplies or gasoline from cars. I have seen people check the weather or air quality on their phone before they go outside to see if it is safe enough to have your skin contact the sun or breathe in the air.

Factories are one of the causes of the poor air around the world. Some of the materials people recycle get burned at the end by these factories. Factories are not the only ones guilty of this mess though, vehicles like cars, trucks and planes are also causes of air pollution. Since most motor vehicles need to operate on gasoline, it tends to create harmful fuels and byproducts like carbon or nitrogen dioxide. Which is why you pass by a car sometimes and you will be able to smell the gasoline because of all those strong harmful fuels the gasoline is producing.

These situations do not happen once every month or year, this happens every day. Now as a teenager, I see how people mistreat the world and lack the empathy to make a change knowing that it affects people and every living organism like plants and animals. It makes me wonder if I will even be able to have a future, let alone, see the next generation walking on Earth.

To address climate change, it is important that Environment Health News spreads more awareness of the danger that climate change has such as public health and environmental impacts. Environmental Health News should also acknowledge publishing more internationally especially in more languages for everyone to be more aware of the situations on Earth. To my readers, I want you to understand that climate change will not get better by itself until we citizens, act and take responsibility because if we do not act, we might not see another day of Earth. One way that environmental activists can help with this is by getting more involved with news and other government agencies to see what methods or steps to take, so we can better our world.

With all, thank you for taking your time to read this. I would hope that after, you have a different perspective on how climate change is a very serious topic, and that you decide to at least spread a little bit of awareness. Please if you are willing to save and take action for our world, act now.

- Anali Lopez

Evelyn Nunez

youth environmental

I know we have many issues in the world, but climate change needs to be addressed, or no other problem will matter. Each day it’s starting to get hotter and hotter. In Houston, Texas families live by refinery companies and suffer every day with health problems because of the toxic chemicals in the air that they breathe in. Climate change has gotten worse and worse over the years. We the people who live on earth need to speak more about climate change and figure out a way to stop it.

Climate change makes me feel worried about our Earth because it can get to the point where we will not have a place to live, and that makes me wonder if I am going to have a future. Climate change increases the health issues for people. Some of the health problems that people face are heat stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, and pregnancy complications. These problems affect us a lot because they can end up causing us to die. Climate change is a problem we must discuss more. People do not focus on the problems that climate change causes.

Taking steps toward positively impacting the environment is something we need to do to end climate change. We might not be able to fix what happened in the past, but we can try and make the future better for everyone else. Make sure that you do not throw trash in the ocean, take the bus, etc. There are multiple ways to stop climate change. Younger people will have a better life if people try to help the Earth.

- Evelyn Nunez

Uriel Mata

youth climate change

Climate change is a serious problem as it’s affecting both people and the environment, heatwaves, droughts, crops drying, sea water levels increasing, and natural disasters becoming more common are some of the effects on the environment.

Global warming is one of the worst and most impacting forms of climate change as this year many cities across Texas experienced triple-digit record temperatures! Also natural disasters such as hurricanes are occurring out of hurricane season due to the change in temperature. This is also causing glaciers to melt which leads sea water levels to rise while also putting many species in danger. Increase in temperatures is also causing many health problems such as heat exhaustion, heat strokes, and respiratory issues which is mainly affecting people with asthma. These extreme temperature conditions are greatly affecting my community not only physically but economically as well. Farmers and outside workers can’t work in such harsh temperatures as it is far too dangerous leading to decrease in money and jobs. Many people in my community have experienced the intense heat including myself, I witnessed an intense heatwave that forced people to carry water to avoid dehydration. I am greatly concerned about the climate circumstances we are in and what will be of the future, because if global warming isn’t taken care of it will only get hotter and hotter which is worse not only for us but for the future generations to come.

In order to address climate change, it is important that we avoid releasing damaging chemicals and gasses in the air that harm the environment. The gasses are mainly released by factories and refineries therefore, they should be cautious of the amounts of gasses they’re releasing. If there is anybody who can help improve the circumstances it’s the government. The government’s actions might help improve the situation however, we can’t sit with our arms crossed as we are capable of helping too.

- Uriel Mata

Melani Caceres-Caballero

youth climate change

I am writing to discuss the dangerous effects climate change has on people. This topic is an issue because everyone on earth is affected by this. Even the little ants to the big lions, everyone is experiencing climate change.

Each year the summer is hotter than the earlier one. This year Houston broke a record for seeing the hottest temperature it's seen of 109 degrees. Of course, in this case breaking a record is not a good thing at all. This affects mostly the people in Houston, since a lot of people in Houston work jobs that are outdoors. For example, my dad works in construction so he must be outside for his job. He comes home exhausted from the heat but that’s what he has to do to provide for us. This makes me concerned for the future, how much longer will this have to go on? Will we be able to survive another extremely scorching summer?

In order to address climate change, it is important that the city of Houston attempts to use less nonrenewable resources. These nonrenewable resources cause greenhouse gasses to be released into our atmosphere and that’s what makes our earth warm up. The government should have stricter regulations. (Texas Governor) Greg Abbot has passed a bill that cars will no longer need to be inspected. This means that they do not need to do the emissions tests anymore. The emissions tests are there to make sure your car isn’t a contributor to air pollution. Greg Abbott passing this law means that there will be more cars that have high emissions and will be contributors to air pollution. Our lives and our future are in the government’s hands. I want people to understand that you cannot just look away from this issue, this is something that you cannot run from. One thing we can call do is use less electricity. Such as, unplugging your charger before you leave work or school. Since electricity is also used by nonrenewable resources.

- Melani Caceres-Caballero

Evelyn G. Ramirez Loredo

youth environment

The issue is that we humans are causing climate change. How? You might ask yourself, well by polluting our earth, by not recycling, or throwing away trash, using too much of something like plastic, burning fossil fuels, trees, or things that can’t be recycled, because of that it is causing extreme weather. This is a problem, and although not everyone realizes that it is, others can because they lose their homes and loved ones because of extreme weather.

For example, I live in Houston, Tx which is near the Gulf of Mexico at Galveston. Since the sea levels are rising there is a risk that Houston will submerge. This is scary for me because maybe one day Houston won’t exist anymore, my home, the place where I grew up at. Another example is that here in Houston, Texas in the Spring Branch area there was a fire of burning trees and what not. Personally I wasn’t affected by it, but the people that live around there were. Smoke was getting in their home to the point where they couldn’t breathe and had to evacuate their home.

As I stated above, I am scared. I'm scared that Houston won't be here to show my kids where I grew up. I'm scared that my home will just be in the past. I'm scared that these fires will become a common thing risking kids, adults and family's health. To address climate change, it is important that the world knows what's happening so that they know how to act if in any way they get affected by climate change. Not everyone knows what's happening because it's not being translated in their language, so journalists need to start translating reports that they do on climate change so that those that don’t speak English know what's happening because we are all humans that live in the same world. We all have a right to know about this to help to stop this problem. Climate change is not something to ignore because sooner or later we are all going to be more affected by it if we don’t do something fast.

- Evelyn G. Ramirez Loredo

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