July 22, 2022
By: Heaven Barnaby

Us Against The World

Us Against The World - Photo

I’m not sure when it began, but I’ve always had the impression that the earth was conspiring against me.

I know this sounds a little crazy, but bear with me. I’ve loved the winter ever since I was a little girl. Which was ironic given that I was born in the summer and don’t much enjoy the season. But no matter how cold it was, every time it snowed, my heart still warmed at the sight.

I adored watching the millions of unique snowflakes fall beautifully together and accumulate softly on the ground while sitting by my window. I am aware that New York is better recognized for its warmer seasons, but I personally loved the wintertime. Especially since the nighttime snowfall in Astoria, where I live, would appear so surreal. I was impressed by how the snow would turn the nighttime sky into a lovely light-dark purple haze. Even if only temporarily, the snow would cover the trees in white and conceal all of the flaws in the area.

As the years passed, I began to observe that no matter how much I wanted it to snow during the winter, it never happened. If anything, the sun was still shining and sweltering hot during the winter, which baffled me. Despite the fact that it was winter, we just grew accustomed to the lack of snowfall.

The fact that people didn’t have to worry about slipping or shoveling snow made many happy, but I was quite sad. I had gotten used to the fact that it was basically summer time during the winter. One day, my childhood friend, who I had the biggest crush on, asked to hangout. I had spent all morning absolutely trashing my room for the perfect outfit, strands of my curly hair decorated my sink as I struggled to find the perfect hairstyle for the day. I wanted to look my best!

I thought it was going to be a beautiful day, so imagine my surprise when I started to hear pitter patters of water against my windows. I remember slowly turning around, pulling my curtains aside and gasping at the scene in front of me. It had started to rain. Now, I know it’s not unusual for it to rain in January, but I just couldn’t believe out of all the days of the week, Mother Nature decided to sob on my special day!

Even though it was winter, New York had been unusually hot and summer-like for weeks. So, since that was the weather I was accustomed to, I just knew that that day was going to be a beautiful day. I was obviously mistaken, because all I could hear and see in front of me were soft raindrops dropping steadily from a gloomy cloud-covered sky.

Just as I started to believe that I could just use my umbrella on my way to meet up, it started to rain harder, and pretty flashes of thunder danced throughout the sky. As the rain fell onto the ground, so did my heart when I heard my phone ding with a text message from my crush telling me about rescheduling our hangout until next week due to the rain.

After a week of impatiently waiting, the day finally arrived when my friend and I were going to hang out. I was so excited about hanging out with my crush that I could barely sleep the night before. When I woke up and looked out of my window to discover that my entire neighborhood was covered in white, I nearly fainted. Snow hurriedly rained down from the heavens as if the Gods were just throwing buckets of it down. I felt like I was never going to be able to hangout with my crush. It was starting to feel we were Bonnie and Clyde, and it was us against the world.

For the first time ever, I hated the snow and prayed that the sun would bless me with its presence. Every time I was eager to do something, the weather would somehow prevent me from doing it, leading me to assume that the planet was conspiring against me, especially since the next day, the sun was literally back out shining as if it wasn’t sleeping the entire day before as the snow covered my hopes, dreams, and the ground.

It wasn’t until years later when I learned that the cause for the unstable weather was due to climate change.

I discovered that weather events like heat waves and major storms are going to happen more frequently or with greater intensity due to climate change. The gasses in the earth’s atmosphere trap more heat, raising global temperatures, which is one of the effects of climate change. In New York, a blatant example of this is when it’s meant to be winter and instead of the chilly weather and snow, it’s swelteringly hot and muggy outside.

It causes a lot of changes within the way our earth feels and looks as well. Nowadays, our planet does not appear to be as lovely as it once did, and if you look closely, no matter where you may live, you’d notice that our seasons do not appear to be as they should be. Although throughout our earth there is an abundance of places that are still green, safe, and stunning, it would be ideal if our earth could remain like that as a whole and not just in certain places.

Growing up in Astoria, there was always an abundance of full-leafed trees and lush green grass, etc. As the years passed, I began to observe that although it was fall, the trees weren’t turning their characteristically stunning orange/red hue. For weeks of fall, the trees were…quite bland and a bit underwhelming. Another example of climate change are the random extreme rainstorms, which produce flash floods and other issues, and then the weather returns to normal the next minute.

There’s times when it would be bitterly cold one day and then scorching hot the next, but people either aren’t aware of or aren’t concerned enough about what they can do to make a change. The constant fluctuation in the weather would physically make me and others sick since my body would be extremely cold one minute and then experience a huge temperature change the next. Climate change is literally causing havoc with the way our planet moves through seasons, but so many people aren’t taking it seriously.

Although people are aware of the term “climate change,” not everyone is aware of its causes and effects. The intention is to make people aware of the issue so they can make changes to their own behavior as well as try to encourage behavior change within the systems around them. Yes, individuals are responsible for climate change, but so are large corporations. The production of gas and oil by all those companies has a huge impact on global warming.

Speaking up to individuals in authority, such as your local mayor and other elected officials, is a strategy to help bring about change.

Mention your concerns regarding climate change and suggest actions that could reduce carbon emissions and have a good impact on other regional problems, such as enhancing air quality. Since you never know what you might learn or how you might be able to help someone else learn, it is always appropriate to educate both yourself and others.

I used to be one of those individuals who was aware of the term “climate change,” but until I recently learned more about it, I had no idea what it actually meant or the risks it posed. I ended up learning that it wasn’t the earth that was conspiring against me after all, it was us humans unconsciously yet consciously conspiring against the earth and its beautiful creatures.

Heaven Barnaby

Heaven Barnaby is an intern at Climate Generation, interviewing green careers professionals and writing articles. She is a sophomore in college from New York. Fun fact: she truly adores reading books, especially romantic ones, because she’s a hopeless romantic!