Opinion: Climate Change awareness for Earth Day 2022

California's landmark, Half Dome located at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park. (Estela Anahi Jaramillo/ The Collegian)

There’s serendipity in sitting at the trail end of a three-mile hike, being around nothing but trees and wilderness.

Fresno has the luxury of hugging the Sierra Nevada mountains for quick day trips to hike, swim in the lake or even just sightsee. 

During the nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19, the world was able to witness Earth healing. 

Pictures of bioluminescent algae exploded on the internet as it made an appearance along the California coast. But why did this algae appear, and why did Earth start to slowly heal? 

There were no humans outside.

Hearing, “We’re heading towards [a] catastrophe,” is quite a rude awakening for those who spend their time outdoors. 

As we head into Earth Day this Friday, April 22, the internet was introduced to NASA scientist Peter Kalmus who, along with other scientists, blocked the entrance to the Chase Bank in Los Angeles. The company is accused of being one of the major contributors to fossil fuel pollution. 

In a video surfacing on Twitter and TikTok, Kalmus said this issue is worth the risk of getting arrested so the world can wake up and see what is going on. 

I spend my time regularly exploring the sequoias in Fresno’s very own backyard, and seeing not just activists, but scientists who have spent years learning and receiving higher education, chaining themselves to these banks is terrifying. 

I’ve spent countless hours hiking and loving Mother Nature. For years, I have done what I can to help preserve Mother Nature and her beauty; from reusable water bottles, to reusable straws and bags and walking from place to place when I have the chance, doing what I can to continue to enjoy the outdoors we have right now. 

The world has already seen the heartbreaking image of the Great Barrier Reef and learned how exactly the reef was destroyed through documentaries despite being one of the seven natural wonders of the world.  

“This is for all the kids in the world, all the young people, all of the future people. This is so much bigger than us,” Kalmus said. 

Living in this current state, it’s alarming to see what the future holds for Earth. Growing up in the Central Valley, I experienced firsthand how much the droughts affected our farmers. And now as social media surges, people can see what the media isn’t showing – and it’s alarming. 

After years of the topic of climate change being swept under the rug, I have continuously asked myself, “What else is there that I can do?”

Recently many influencers on TikTok have taken their platform by storm, talking about climate change and the urgency scientists have to turn things around. 

Influencer and InStyle host Tefi brought this issue to light using her platform, talking about a conversation she had with her friend about climate change. She explained how severe it has been getting, to the point where people, like her friend, who have wanted kids made the decision not to because of the scarcity of water that will eventually arise. 

“I think as human beings we don’t act until it’s time to be terrified, and [now] it’s time to be terrified,” she said. 

It’s remarkable to me how many influencers are speaking about this now. For years many celebrities have used their platforms to let people know what is going on, with instances like Shailene Woodley coming out as an activist and getting arrested for her consequent activist actions in 2016 to instances like Kalmus chaining himself to the Chase Bank

Since the pandemic social media has taken the world by storm, and it’s been fascinating to see people share their stories about climate change. Even students who are studying climate change, as well as other scientists, are “blowing up” on TikTok to inform the world about what is going on. 

With Earth Day being just days away, I want to express my love for the natural beauty outside by using my platform  to inform readers about what is going on. 

One of our jobs as the younger generation should be to change things. We are capable of impact, no matter how small of an action is taken. The world saw this during the Black Lives Matter protests. 

“The media does a fantastic job at making issues feel like they’re very far away,” Tefi said on TikTok. 

This quote speaks volumes, and as a student studying journalism, it’s my hope that my work and the work of my peers changes this perspective. 

Younger voices are a force to be reckoned with. To every person who gains a following on social media or within a community, I urge you to use your platform to educate and inform.

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