My interest in environmental preservation began as a child—I spent hours watching wildlife documentaries, reading Ranger Rick magazine, and even keeping a wildlife journal. Like many kids, I loved animals and wanted to learn about all of them, from the cute and cuddly to the gross and freaky.
As I grew older I learned how humans have a direct impact on the health of the environment and the animals who live there, and that’s a huge responsibility! So I wanted to understand how I could play a part in taking care of the planet and all its inhabitants, which naturally led me to learn about environmental responsibility and sustainability.
Topics like a hole in the ozone layer and decreasing Arctic sea ice were big news when I was a teenager, and both were linked to this concept of climate change—something so abstract but global and uncertain in its effects. What was certain was that if humans didn’t learn about it – why it was happening, what was causing it, and how our lives and the lives of millions of plants and animals could be impacted – then we could lose everything. Sure, everything sounds a bit dramatic and dire, but everything is also life as we know it, all the interconnectedness that we know.
I have continually striven to learn more about climate change and how individuals, communities, and countries can help to mitigate it. In 2017, I completed an expedition to Antarctica, where I sought to see the effects of climate change firsthand, so that I could provide deeper insight in climate change conversations, providing credible account of the changes our planet is experiencing.
A lot of people ask me, What can I do to help? The first step is education on the topic. Once people can conceptualize what climate change could mean for them, their children, their neighborhood, then they will care to make changes.
Making changes to our daily lifestyles is a good place to start (I created a simple guide here).
We also need governments to staunchly support climate action; if federal governments won’t, it’s up to state and local governments. And the way to change state and local priorities is by becoming active voices ourselves – calling representatives, running for office, scheduling meetings to talk about the issues important to us. And this can all start if everyone educates themselves on climate change.
For more information, follow my Instagram, where I often post news and easy action items. You can also watch the short film I made following my Antarctic expedition here.