My name is Edgar Mcgregor and I am currently a student at my local community college.
I started climate activism because I noticed the weather. We were experiencing downpours during our usually completely dry summers. There were long stretches of heat during our cool, rainy season. Ash fell from the skies on days when it should have been water. Finally, on October 24, 2017, an extreme weather event occurred that forced me to think about the climate crisis every day for the rest of my life. At 2 AM that morning, high winds suddenly began to roar through our nearby mountain canyons. The descending winds made the air so hot that it was actually warmer than the average summer day. On top of that, air was almost completely devoid of any water vapor. Had the transformers above my neighborhood failed during this hot, dry windstorm, (which they usually do during windstorms) everything around me including my home would very likely have burned to the ground in a wildfire. It happened to Santa Rosa, California one week earlier just a few hundred miles to my north, so there was no reason why it couldn't happen to us. We got lucky, but next time, we might not. Since then, I've devoted my life to fighting for future generations. I, however, know that one day a fire will occur. It is not a question of if, but when.
As the global climate continues to shift, the state of California will see more extreme droughts, flooding, and heat waves. We won't lose any of our annual precipitation, only, it will fall over a shorter span of time. Our fall season is lasting longer and longer, which means more wildfires. Our winters, the only season where it ever rains, are getting hotter, shorter, and rainier, which means more flash flooding and mudslides. Our springs are starting earlier, which mean rains depart earlier and wildfires are starting earlier too. Our summers are getting ever more unbearable. Summers, however, are starting to see more monsoon thunderstorms in a part of the world where we should not see many. They can sometimes produce downpours at a time of year where there shouldn't be any, but usually they just put down lightning without dropping any rain, therefore starting yet more wildfires.
I have been cleaning up trash every single day for 329 days as of June 17, 2020, rain or shine pandemic excluded. I have cleaned up in the pouring rain, in the blistering heat, and also in some of southern California's most gnarly windstorms! I post videos of my cleanups for the week every Friday on Twitter under the hashtag #EarthCleanUp in the hopes that others will join me. Some people have occasionally cleaned up because of my actions, but nobody yet has joined me on this daily mission. I also #StrikeForClimate alongside Greta Thunberg and millions of others around the world every week, though I have stopped since the pandemic began to rage. I will continue when the pandemic subsides.
I would love to see COP do more on the climate crisis. I want COP26 to be about more than just understanding the facts of the climate crisis. I want COP26 to be about what this crisis means for the legacy of humankind, what this crisis says about who we are, and what lessons this crisis can teach humanity about sustainability.
I think right now, the best way to get others involved in the climate crisis is to get a little bit meta about this whole situation. By that I mean we should talk to people about how this issue isn't just about those born in 50 or 100 years, it is about those who will be born 10,000 years from now, or 100,00 years from now. This is about human civilization maturing from the safety of our home world to the cold, largely dark space that is only occasionally dotted with starlight. This is about humankind becoming a species that doesn't just have the ability to grow, but the ability to sustain itself. The only reason why life on Earth has been around for billions of years is because it valued sustainability over growth. The result was a planet with billions upon billions of different species in every valley, every oceanic trench, every mountain top, every desert and every seashore tide pool. Teaching people about just how big this transition might just get them inspired enough to want to be a part of it.
Fellow young people, we are about to be handed the torch. For the next 70 or so years, we will rule this moment of time. We will be responsible for what the fate of the human species, and the whole Earth, is. We have the opportunity to create unimaginable amounts of enthusiasm, but we also have the chance to screw it all up. The world may be one terrible place right now, but it would be even worse without you. Our planet needs us to stop using her. She has given us life, comfort, shelter, and warmth. We have to prevent this species from doing to space what we are doing to Earth. Because it is one thing if we mess up this planet for good, but it is another if we mess up the Universe for good. We are the most powerful weapon against ourselves and we must learn to control our power. It is the year 2020, and despite a pandemic, we are still destroying the Earth faster than we ever have before. Young people, it is up to us to end this war against our home. It is up to us to provide a better future for those who have yet to be born. The generation that follows ours will have an even more difficult time doing what we are trying to do, and the generation that follows them, if we do nothing now, will be completely helpless. This issue is now. I need you to care. The planet needs you to care. The future needs you to care. You’ve got this. Let's go save the world.