Student Voices: Santa Rita students talk climate change

Eileen Tse/Special to the Town Crier
Miraslau Kavaliou shows his Google Site to one of the parents attending the Climate Change Expo Feb. 15

Our Earth will not have any rain forests in 100 years. According to National Geographic, if humans continue deforestation at today’s rate, our children will live in a world without rain forests.

Each year, the deforestation problem worsens. Deforestation is one of the main causes of climate change, a topic that Santa Rita School sixth-graders have been researching for more than a month now.

A month ago, Mr. Zac Hansel, our science teacher at Santa Rita, announced to all of the sixth-grade students that we would be writing a book on climate change and related subtopics, such as greenhouse gases, rising sea levels, deforestation, etc. We spent a few weeks researching and writing our books. After finishing our books, the students created websites using Google Sites to display our work.

Before researching about our topics, we knew what climate change was, but we definitely did not understand how severe the situation was. As soon as we started our research, we realized that climate change is very serious. One fact that we found was 17 percent of the Amazon rain forest has been lost in the last 50 years mainly because humans needed space for cattle ranching. Also, the number of trees on the planet has decreased by almost half since the beginning of agriculture, which is equivalent to losing about 10 billion trees annually. These alarming facts helped us realize that deforestation is a much bigger problem than most people believe.

Taking action

One of the biggest revelations we had was how little was being done about climate change. Ironically, these facts came from teen activism articles. We learned about many different teen activists such as Felix Finkbeiner (founder of Plant-for-the-Planet), Jamie Margolin (co-founder of Zero Hour) and Greta Thunberg (16-year-old youth activist). They have spoken about adults who tend to talk about climate change but do not actually do anything about it. So the Santa Rita sixth-graders decided to do something about it.

The Santa Rita inaugural Climate Change Exposition was held Feb. 15. It was a chance for all sixth-graders to inform the community about what we had learned and how humans can take action against climate change. Many parents and community members attended. We presented our research, books and websites. There was a sense of pride and accomplishment that came with presenting our work. All the time we spent researching and writing paid off because we were able to inform others about what we had learned and we helped the environment at the same time. That was the point where we all truly became youth activists against climate change.

We learned a lot throughout the entire process of researching, writing the books and creating the websites, but the most important lesson is that more humans need to help slow climate change. To be part of the solution, we can recycle, compost, print double-sided and use reusable containers. One simple way to become a youth activist is to inform others about climate change.

Climate change is one of the most major problems for the entire Earth, and people around the world need to take action to reverse its effects.

Calista Woo and Miraslau Kavaliou are sixth-graders at Santa Rita School.

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