Guest Essay: Small Actions, Big Changes  

How does climate change impact lower economic communities?

Climate change: the crisis that is not only hurting our Earth but also hurting people around us. It separates families and friends, forces and keeps people in poverty, and threatens our comfort and safety. The growing concern for climate change is greatly affecting people from all around the world. However, the consequences of climate change are creating an especially heavier burden for lower economic communities.

As climate change continues to rapidly sweep the world, the chances of destructive natural disasters, such as hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, and floods, also continue to increase. People of lower economic communities are at a great disadvantage, as they are less likely to have access to resources that can support them in times of dire need.

Evacuating from homes after suffering from natural disasters is very costly, as the cost includes reliable transportation, safe shelter, food, water, and other necessities. As a result, many people of lower economic communities are forced to stay and risk their own safety during disasters, as they are unable to afford these things. In addition, the recovery process from natural disasters is not cheap. Rebuilding destroyed homes, cleaning up debris, and eliminating safety hazards in the house is not affordable to most; many people of low economic status are unable to access money for recovery, as many natural disaster recovery funds are targeted toward homeowners and higher-income communities.

This raises the question: what can we do to help people in these communities? We can all make conscious efforts to reduce waste, conserve energy, and consume less. Instead of throwing away your empty soda can in the trash, wash it out and recycle it. Opt for a five-minute shower instead of a ten-minute one: your small, thoughtful actions add up. If we all make a mindful effort to do our part for our environment, we can all make a big change to our environment and to lower economic communities.

By Esther Zhang,  10th Grader at Newton North High School