Still don't think climate change matters? Here's how it's hitting people where it hurts.

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.  

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.