Climate change is an issue that impacts all of us. However, despite numerous studies and experts declaring it's really and truly happening, many people still aren't taking the threat seriously.
The reasons people ignore climate change vary — it's inconvenient, not concrete enough for some to understand, or just down right terrifying.
But there's so much work to do and time is of the essence.
Thankfully, on a community level, more businesses and government officials are seeking to reduce our collective carbon footprint by advocating for sustainable practices and moving towards eliminating the use of fossil fuels.
And while it's great that these larger entities are doing their part, it doesn't mean we don't all have a role to play in the fight to save our planet. All life forms are suffering and will continue to suffer the consequences of our apathy towards climate change.
Perhaps the problem is few folks understand the way that climate change impacts us on the individual level.
Too often we focus on the efforts and perspectives of experts. However, we can’t keep a “leave it to the professionals” mindset if we want to offset these rapidly accelerating effects.
But what if we could see more of ourselves in the issue?
One way to do that is to put a wider spectrum of voices in the spotlight and show the world how climate change in impacting them.
Our Climate Voice is one grassroots organization that hopes to make the consequences of climate change easier to understand while applying an intersectional lens.
Per its mission statement, OCV seeks to make discussions about climate change less abstract and more inclusive.
"Our mission is to humanize the climate disaster through storytelling, contribute to a shift in the climate change dialogue that puts the voices of those most impacted at the forefront of the conversation, and to connect people with ways to support the community-based climate solution-making work that frontline and vulnerable communities are already doing to combat climate impacts."
For the past three years, they've been sharing people's first-person encounters with climate change to make things more real for the rest of us.
They feature people's stories in a way that we can hear those obstacles in connection with concrete data. They're also giving marginalized people of color a chance to tell their unique stories — and that means a ton.
Stories like Miko Vergun's, a climate activist — also one of 21 youth suing the Trump admin demanding they take climate change seriously. During her interview, she talks about how climate change limits her access to the outdoors, an activity she's enjoyed since childhood, along with the ways climate change and environmental racism have impacted individuals from the Marshall Islands in Micronesia, where she hails.
Climate change hits each one of us in different ways. It's intensified severe weather patterns, threatened food supplies, and swallowed islands whole. It also increases food security and similar obstacles for marginalized and indigenous groups.
Other stories on OCV like Azaria Mendoza's discuss the way climate change and things like pollution and contaminated water limited their ability to enjoy just being a kid.
Stories like these remind us that climate change isn’t an abstract, apocalyptic tale. It’s here, now, and personal.
If we don’t start listening soon, there will be nothing left to fight for.