"How will the Earth look when pollution decreases?"

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 peak into the minds of children and their relationship with environmental issues. Read the first, second, third and fourth set of letters.

Diana Meza

youth climate change

Climate change is changing our planet day by day. If we do not do anything about it, who knows what could happen in the future. Climate change has really affected our environment, from wildfires to extreme weather. People have experiences with climate change and so do I. One day during the summer, I went out with my family. It was really hot that day, but no one had expected what would happen next. Suddenly, I began to have a heat stroke. It lasted about 15 minutes, and it scared us all. And this wasn’t the first time this has happened. This heat stroke in particular worried me that maybe one day something worse could possibly happen. Since the heat is increasing every year, it is possible that in the future, my body will no longer be able to take the heat.

I believe it is important we do something about this to prevent harming any more people. I think some way we can help is by trying to stop pollution. Pollution is one of the main reasons why our Earth is heating up more than ever. If we reduce the pollution we let out in our air, it could possibly make a big difference. Another thing I believe we can do to help our Earth is if we stop cutting down our trees. We need our trees to have fresh air and without them, our air quality could worsen.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read about ways we can improve our environment. With your help, we can make this a better place.

- Diana Meza

Azhael Medrano

youth climate change

I am writing to discuss the status and my opinion of climate change. I want to talk about this issue because it is currently not just affecting us but also affecting all other living and nonliving things. This letter expresses my feelings about climate change and how it is dangerous in multiple ways.

Climate change is now affecting everyone, and it changes the way we live life. The issue affects me and my community because the pollution we breathe in can harm us. An example of climate change that was near where I live was the Spring Branch fire on Hollister Road. This situation makes me feel that soon we are going to need some form of facial protection because of all the pollution. The thing I am mostly worried about when it comes to climate change is the pollution and the extreme temperature.

To address climate change, it is important that we humans limit the number of times we use our daily vehicles such as cars, planes, and boats. A message I would like to give the government is to change the way most things are powered because as of right now most of our vehicles are powered by oil which creates more pollution for us to breathe in causing more sicknesses to happen and more deaths to experience. I want all the readers to understand that climate change is caused by certain jobs we take part in such as refineries and cargo sending ships across the world just to spread the pollution even more. Thank you for hearing me out on how we can make the world a better place for the future leaders of the world.

- Azhael Medrano

Felix Perez

youth climate change

Climate change is one of the biggest worldwide problems. People think that climate change is the world just heating up and that is one of many (things) going on.

For example, sea levels are going up and severe storms are currently happening and freezes could happen. In February 2021 Houston had one of the biggest freezes making people lose their homes. This is rare for Texas to freeze, since Texas is hotter than (other) states. This affected families by making them lose (their) homes for not being able to pay for the damage caused by the storm. (Some) families had less food than others. (Some) were stocking up on food to make sure that they can feed their family. People were in the streets starving (and freezing) to death in the cold.

To address climate change, it is important that the people and government act. The government should turn off gas companies once a week every month while the workers still get paid to make sure we decrease the amount of natural gas being put out in our atmosphere. I want people to know that it is not just heat but people (will be) losing their homes and animals losing their natural habitats. People should attend meetings and protest to try to end climate change.

Thank you for taking your time to read on how I feel about climate change and why I think we should find ways to end how bad it is so my generation can have a future and for our species to not go extinct.

- Felix Perez

Carolina Gonzalez

youth climate change

I believe that climate change is a tremendous problem because climate change is affecting humans. For example, hurting their lungs and causing them to have asthma, heart diseases, and more. But climate change can also cause (the) losing (of) resources like trees or food. This issue affects me and my community because I had asthma but it came back not that long ago. So the pollution has affected me.

Some examples of climate change near my area was that it was flooded by a hurricane named Hurricane Harvey, and this year we’ve experienced a huge fire. Many trees were destroyed. The air was toxic to adults, but (especially) toxic for young children. This worries me for my future because I believe that possibly the citizens here would want to leave because of what the pollution is causing. It also worries me (that) the hospitals won’t have enough room for everyone that is having health problems from the pollution.

Humans need to take control of climate change and try to fix it in any way possible. In Houston,Texas we had one of the hottest summers ever, no one is taking action and caring about our Earth. Parents need to be careful when their children are outside breathing those toxic chemicals and hurting their lungs. I would like to see a change, before and after, especially to those kids' futures. How will the Earth look when pollution decreases?

- Carolina Gonzalez

Daniel Mendoza

youth climate change

Climate change is a real problem that is happening around the world, not just here. It has affected many lives, and it will keep on affecting many more lives if it isn’t stopped.

The issue with climate change is that it isn’t taken that seriously and it has become a big problem because it has worsened over time. This issue affects me or my community because it can affect our health and how we live here in Houston. This year’s summer was the hottest ever recorded here in Houston, and it might be getting hotter each year. Also, this summer there has been some smog in the air, mostly what I think has been created by refineries or cars releasing gas into the air.

In order to address climate change, it is important that we, as a community, act upon this by using less electricity and gas, using transportation without gasoline- like a bicycle or walking - and using an electric car instead of a gasoline car. What the government should do (something) too. From what I have heard, they have reduced greenhouse gasses, which is another factor for hot temperatures like this summer’s. The government should keep at it so there could be less hotter summers over the years. We people from Houston should know about this and must make a change from converting our gasoline car to electric, or to use less gas and electricity in our homes.

We can make a change, even if it seems impossible. know we can, so that I and many other people can have a bright future ahead of us.

- Daniel Mendoza

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