By Arjun Marwaha

Climate change is real. Fires have ravaged many communities in my home state of California and unusually powerful storms have flooded other parts of the United States. More volatile climate events cannot be disputed. But, what ultimately drove me, a teenager, to channel this into a book? It is a little more complicated than that.

From a young age, I was the subject of many family jokes for religiously reading the weather section of the newspaper and then watching the Weather Channel instead of cartoons. I would constantly overwhelm my mother with questions, wondering if the rain that splattered on the windshield was considered “heavy”. This childhood curiosity later transformed into an exploration of the greatest threat to humanity — climate change. The weather that I had known as a cyclic, seasonal pattern suddenly became a gradual progression towards extreme weather events.

The 2017 California fire season literally hit home as four houses in my cousin’s neighborhood were incinerated. Police sirens and television screens signaled the fire containment efforts. However unlike the Earth that would be scarred for only a few months, my sense of security was forever scarred. This experience propelled me to begin discussions with my peers in the classroom. However, these conversations fell flat. In an effort to understand the issue, I initiated extensive research of the climatic effects and implications of climate change on human health; I ultimately compiled this information in ​Our Changing Earth: Why Climate Change Matters to Young People​. I not only researched what climate change is, but how it affects people so my peers can understand its relevance to them so they can take action and advocate for policies and practices that will protect the Earth.

The next generation will be inheriting planet Earth. We simply ask for a world that we can live in. For this reason, it is essential that young people are informed of the environmental threats that loom. This very concept motivates me: the minds of every person in their youth must be informed until legitimate governmental action is taken. As a published author and teenager, I hope to contribute to this cause through participation in protests and building online platforms. The Fridays for Future movement is a weekly school strike on Fridays where children demand climate action in several countries around the globe. Attending the March 15 Climate Strike in Los Angeles, California, I had the opportunity to speak in front of hundreds and encourage them to read my newly published book. This united protest is not only for a good cause and promoting awareness, it also helps to bolster momentum for climate policy in our government. As the current administration questions the validity of climate change and refuses to ratify the Paris Accords, many of us look forward to the 2020 elections. Everyday, I wake up and do everything in my power as a young citizen to push climate action. Knowing that the next generation has the impetus to resolve this political inaction and will have the ability to vote in future elections, I hope environmental policy is a major talking point in the political primaries for 2020. For these reasons—both political and personal—climate policy is the panacea to all future environmental threats. My past climate curiosity, my present climate awareness, and my future that lies before me are the reasons that I wrote this book. The reason I push for climate activism.

ARJUN MARWAHA, 17, is currently a junior at Fairmount Preparatory Academy. His debut book, Our Changing Earth: Why Climate Change Matters to Young People is available now on Amazon. You can learn more about Marwaha on his website and Instagram.