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Grace Jones: Youth and Climate Change

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Grace Jones says the urgency of climate change is motivating her generation to political activism.

We hear the words climate change all the time. On the news, during debates. For many it's faded into the background, softened into something too far in the future to have any effect. But if we're looking at the facts, that's not the truth. We see the effects of climate change every day.

As the climate becomes hotter, the snowpack decreases. Growing up in California, this relationship between climate and water has always been clear to me. The state has been in drought more than half my life.

And it's not just rain that's affected by climate change. According to the EPA, rising temperatures are increasing the number and severity of wildfires. In this year alone, more than 4 million acres burned in California. We’ve all walked outside and seen an ash gray sky, the sun a pale orange circle just visible through the haze. This stunned me at first because in my little coastal town the air always seemed clean and filled with the scents of redwood forests in our hills and the Pacific Ocean at our shore.

I'm scared of what the world will be like when I'm an adult. And if I'm thinking that now, what about when the next generation are adults?


We have a duty, not just to today's world, but to all future generations to work hard to solve this huge problem we've created.

Last year I marched down streets and went to rallies filled with children carrying signs saying Climate Justice Now! The thing is, the youth can and will make an impact, but nothing will change unless those who have the power of voting elect those who will work hard for us all.

We need leaders who will, in the words of the Preamble to the Constitution, establish Justice, promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity by ensuring that, someday, our posterity has the chance to live in a world where no one has to worry about smoke-colored skies or drought.

With a Perspective, I’m Grace Jones.

Grace Jones is 14 and attends the Kirby School in Santa Cruz. Her Perspective was produced by KQED Learn for its Let's Talk About Election 2020 youth media challenge. Hear more student voices at learn.kqed.org.

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