Jerry Candell, 56
Los Angeles, Calif.
Hello, I’m Jerry Candell. I am 56 years old and I am a lung cancer survivor. I should be over the moon with happiness because I just heard the great news from my doctor who called to tell me that, as of right now, I am cancer-free and lucky to be alive. Honestly, though, that’s not at all how I feel. What i feel is guilty because I SHOULD be thrilled that I can finally get back to enjoying my life and doing all of the things I told myself I would do if I got better, but instead I feel almost as sad as when I got my cancer diagnosis. Why, you ask? Well, I spend so much time thinking how I got lung cancer. I’ve never been a smoker and none of my family members who I spent all my time with didn’t smoke either. I didn’t have a family history of lung cancer and actually most of my relatives lived very long and healthy lives well into their 90’s. I grew up with my family on a ranch in Montana where the air was always crisp and clean and you could drink the water right out of the streams. The sky was always full of stars and we spent our youth playing outdoors, camping and hiking and just enjoying nature. But after college I was offered the job of my dreams in Los Angeles and couldn’t wait to move to such a dynamic and energetic “big city” full as it promised to be of skyscrapers and highways and malls and people who seemed to be everywhere doing so many interesting things. I spent all my years there hard at work, not bothering to notice that the city kept getting dirtier and dirtier. It got to the point that the smog hovering over the city made it difficult to breathe let alone spend any time outside, but I didn’t pay it much attention at the time, since I was either cooped up in my office or in the car or at home. It only hit me when I had to check myself into the hospital for treatment and I had all this extra time to just sit and think while I was fighting cancer, that maybe it was all that city smog and bad air that I had been breathing all those years in Los Angeles may have caused my cancer in the first place. While talking to my doctor, we discussed this possibility. Considering the lack of cancer and my non-smoking medical and family history, the doctor told me that this might be the case for me. Climate change had a very devastating affect on my health and nearly killed me. Now cancer-free, I worry about continuing to live in Los Angeles. I don’t see the situation on in this city getting any better and no matter how much it seems some people try to help the environment here, it’s only a small drop in the bucket and I have no real confidence or hope that the air here will get any better any time soon. So, for my health and my peace of mind, if I want to really have a future where I have many more years to be able to live and enjoy all that life has to offer, I think I have to pack up and move back to Montana where I can breathe.
Celia Carmichael, 39
New York, NY
Hello? Mother? I know it’s been a long time since we’ve talked but, as you know, work keeps me very busy and I barely have the time to eat a real meal or sleep, let alone chat for more than a minute. Ever since I made partner, it seems that my workload has quadrupled. But on the other hand, I am the youngest partner in the law firm’s history so feel free to congratulate me on my latest achievement. All that money you and father spend on my education continues to pay off. As a present to myself, decided to buy that new Range Rover and move into Manhattan on my own into this gorgeous apartment on the 20th floor of the most prestigious buildings in town. I really feel like I’m at the top of my game right now and just happy; busy, really busy, but happy, really, really happy. And to put the icing on the proverbial cake, I’m pregnant. Oh...my...god...i’m actually...pregnant. I’m going to have a baby. I’m going to bring a child into this world. A world where my child will probably have to fight so much harder than me to survive, to just breathe. I can’t believe that thought just crossed my mind. I blame those protesters. 300,000 of them are marching through the city right now. And it seems like they’re trying to warn the world that We're going to lose our planet in the next generation if things continue this way." And here I am, realizing I’m carrying the next generation. For all of my hard work to get myself financially ready for this new baby, maybe, just maybe I have to figure out a way to get environmentally ready so that I can help bring my child into a better world, rather than a world of climate disaster. I spent so much of my life in school working towards improving my education and getting my career off the ground that I didn’t take the time to appreciate or even understand the nature of nature and how impacts our lives and the lives of our children. Will my child even have nature to explore or grow up? Will the legacy I leave my child be a wasteland rather than a land of natural wonder and beauty? Will my child even have real grass to play on or real trees to climb? Will there by oceans and lakes for my child to swim in instead of just chlorinated pools? Will my child even be able to go outside? I keep going back to what I heard those activists shouting about the loss of the ozone and its possible dangerous and harmful effects and how the situation seems to be getting worse and worse rather than better. I can’t imagine bringing a child into this world who won’t even get the chance to touch or see or breathe the nature that I took for granted would just always be there while I buried my head in my books in my room. Maybe I need to start making some serious changes in my own life. Every little bit that I do can help a little bit. And if everyone else does their own little bit, then together all of our future children will have a promise of a natural and beautiful tomorrow. So maybe that present I buy myself will be a more energy efficient Prius rather than a gas-guzzling Range Rover. And I don’t really NEED that big apartment that will waste so much energy with all those lights and appliances. My baby and I can make do with less if it’s help ensure her future has more.
Like, I love where I live. California is too bomb. The beaches are beautiful, the people are beautiful (obviously including me lol) and the weather is almost always perf. But like literally the worst humidity came through like turn down for everything and my hair was too ratchet for life! I cried like 6 times at my school ruined my makeup. Couldn’t even make track practice like, I was such a mess. And then to make things even worse, I was like walking to my car to get home and it started to rain. Like are you serious right now weather? Why are you even thing? SInce I couldn’t go outside for obvious stupid reasons, I went on twitter to rant about my awful frizzy nasty hair. All that was on my feed was white girl problems, drake quotes and the hashtag climate change. I was like climate is weather right? and change is like cool. Or bad? I was confused. I clicked on the hashtag and thousands and thousands of tweets about climate change popped up. I didn’t realize how bad and life threatening climate change is. I found out on urban dictionary that climate change is a long-term change in the earth's climate,especially a change due to an increase in the average atmospheric temperature. So like, it doesn’t just happen in a seconds it takes a minute, you know? Or sad stormy ones. I started following some climate change twitter accounts and they keep posting news about climate change stories and news reports. Like the latest one I saw was a picture of 35,000 walruses barely fitting on a small piece of land. Too many glaciers and ice are melting because of climate change! Like it’s like 100 mes in my room at once like get out. I know that if we don’t help the environment climate change will get worse and worse. Since that I wasn’t like aware of climate change until I saw the hashtag I think I’m going to make a twitter account just about information about climate change. I think my friends should know about this, ya know? We don’t need any more bad hair days.