In May 2012, I was in 3rd grade, waiting in the lunch line and praying it would go faster so I could eat and play on the monkey bars. In line, I heard two girls behind me talk about what seemed like a ridiculous concept for my 9 year old brain: the end of the world. One girl talked about how the world was supposed to end on the last day of 2012, while her friend agreed, saying she saw a movie called 2012 that showed a natural catastrophe destroying Earth. I brushed it off as two girls that didn’t know what they were talking about, but I also felt a feeling I can now pinpoint as dread.
Fast forward 8 years into 2020, a year everyone had high hopes for. Of course, those hopes were mutilated by the Coronavirus, but the California fires this summer gave me the same feeling of dread from all those years ago.
Living in California my entire life has somewhat desensitized me to the consequences of forest fires and earthquakes. Since I had never really been impacted by one, it was just a part of my year like a change in seasons. However this past August, my ignorant perspective took a turn.
Coronavirus cases were on an increase and forest fires were raging at a record breaking pace. As my parents heard messages about possible evacuation and our friends were looking for places to go to, for the first time, I was genuinely worried for the immediate future. It seemed like destruction was inevitable and coming in from every direction. I saw posts on social media where people were living in cars for extended periods of time, unable to work or even feed their children. I saw places that I had been to before burn down on the news. I experienced the disastrous air quality and I sat at home thinking, “ Is this what the end of the world feels like? Could things really get worse?”
They did. Not because of the wildfires or because of coronavirus though. The State was beginning to recover and cases began to come to a standstill. No, what was worse was the federal government’s reaction to this series of unfortunate events. President Donald Trump's comments on the fires were, "You know, at some point, you can't, every year, have hundreds of thousands of acres of land just burned to the ground” and a vehement refusal to give funds for relief (ABC 7 News). In addition he expressed his thoughts about climate change, saying he doesn’t believe in it and instead urges California to “have better management of forests” (ABC 7 News). I couldn’t believe the dismissal of something so important. I mean we’re talking about something that affects the whole world.
So I’ll ask you. Is this the end of the world that 2012 was supposed to bring? Maybe the start of it. Do we have to sit there and wait for our time to come to an end? Absolutely not. Humanity didn’t get to where it is without a little fight. So, regardless of political beliefs and even social ones, recognize that every one of us is accountable for the world around us. Even the mistakes of our ancestors are still OUR mistakes. The Earth doesn’t discriminate.
Being dismissive of our surroundings is inherently un-human. I urge you to consider this and think about what kind of a world you want to live in. Break down the political and social barriers. Demand change from others and be the change you want to see.
Everyone is so concerned with leaving a materialistic legacy of fame, power, and money, but think bigger. Think about the legacy you want to leave on the planet. You don’t have to reverse global warming by yourself. You don’t have to join environmental protection groups. You don’t have to dedicate your life to the environment if that’s not what you want to do. But, think about what you are contributing to the Earth. Think about if that satisfies you in the present, and if your actions will be beneficial to the future. Small changes can lead to big impacts. Small contributions can leave a big legacy. So I’ll leave you with my personal take on this: Live simply, with consciousness that your life on this Earth touches everything in some shape or form. We ARE either the end of the world or the savior of it.
Post written by guest writer and ambassador Sanjana Dukkipati
Want to write a guest post for the
Ladki Love blog? Click below!