Climate Change and Me

In recent weeks, climate change has become a piece of my life. The subject of climate change is starting to weave its way into many of the conversations I have daily. This is helped, of course, by the fact that I am learning about climate change and its repercussions in a class at my school. Before this class, the details of climate change were unclear to me. Now that I’m understanding the roles of greenhouse gases, I can clearly see the problem. Now that I have learned about renewable energy sources, cap and trade, and carbon taxes, I can understand and examine the solutions. I am now pretty wary of the changes the world is going through.

My name is Lukas Bigelow. I am a sophomore in high school at Carolina Friends School. I am not exactly your prototypical climate activist. I am primarily an athlete, a baseball player, and I sometimes take valuable pieces out of the ecosystem through fishing. Lukas Bigelow with fish.jpg

 

But climate change is very real to me. I’ve seen its results and devastating effects on marine ecosystems. The most obvious example to me is in Bogue Sound, on the coast of North Carolina. I go fishing in the Bouge at least twice every year, in either winter or summer. During the spring and summer, however, giant ships dredge out channels for boats in the sound, disrupting sediment, plants, fish, and even trapped gases beneath the surface. The gas bubbles, which are primarily CO2, float to the surface and pop, sending the gas into the atmosphere. I’ve traveled to big cities such as Philadelphia, New York, and Los Angeles, where I have seen first-hand how smog traps people inside their buildings, as it is too dangerous to breathe. I’ve flown over drought sites, and I’ve seen animals and people suffer under heat waves. I play baseball through these heat waves in long pants, which is akin to a sweatshop after three innings. I’ve seen teammates get heatstroke and faint on the field, which to me is a very clear statement by climate change: Poor air quality physically damages humans. Which is a very vivid and surreal statement.

 

Yet I still have hope for action to halt climate change. My school has a geothermal heating system in one of our gyms. We are currently installing solar panels on the roof of the other gym. In California, I’ve driven by wind farms, watching the 180+ foot blades swing around and around. I’ve witnessed hydroelectric power being created via dams in Oregon and Washington State. In my home state of North Carolina, large companies like Apple and Google are creating giant solar farms to power their computer servers. Despite our recent problems with coal ash and natural gas companies trying to frack our land, North Carolina is becoming a leading outputter in solar energy. There is action being taken all around me to put an end to (or at least slow down) climate change.

I have taken small actions to prevent climate change. I now strictly practice catch-and-release while fishing. I am always mindful of energy use in my house, especially lighting, water usage, and the amount of electricity my TV uses. Before I buy a new baseball product, I trace the origins of the materials within the product. I think it would be fun to get involved in larger climate change projects, but I’m not sure where to start. Should I focus on renewable energy, or should I join climate organizations, like the Sierra Club? I don’t know for sure. But once I can clearly understand the details of the issues and solutions to climate change, I think I will be further inspired to take more serious action.