Iron Horse Trail
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Luna Vu

Fighting the Invisible War

As the clock chimed twelve times at midnight, we had joyfully celebrated our 2020 New Year. Who would’ve thought then that we would be spending weeks indoors with a viral threat that could crumble the world economy? 

Now, we practice social distancing for our loved ones, our communities, and our nation. We take this seriously because we understand that we each play a critical role in the fight against this “invisible” war. 

As I spend more time at home with my children, I can’t help but ponder the millions of things that I could and should do to make their future better. The coronavirus is not the only “invisible” war we are fighting right now. Climate change is another invisible war that we must fight as well. And where I’m doing what I feel is my part in the battle against COVID-19—staying home, washing my hands regularly, and avoiding contact with anyone outside of my household—I feel there’s more I could be doing to combat climate change.  

The thing is, climate change will hit us like the coronavirus if we don’t prepare for it. We were warned that we were not ready for a pandemic about five years ago, and we didn’t take any action. This is a mistake we must learn from and use it to grow. We must prepare ourselves for this second invisible war. We must prepare ourselves before it overwhelms us like COVID-19 has. Mother Earth loves and gives us so much, and it’s time for us to love her back. We can do this by joining forces in our fight against climate change! 

Earth Day is around the corner, and though we are unable to celebrate this special day with our communities in physical proximity, I feel our hearts and minds are more connected than ever. I realize I’m not the only one who feels we must do more to fight climate change—many of us face similar fears, anxieties, and challenges when thinking about this invisible, yet ever-present war. And even though we’re all hunkered down inside our homes at the moment, we can still use this time to make our voices heard. We can advocate for climate solutions and raise awareness about the real threats this invisible war presents. 

Actions I know I can personally take from my own home include: 

  1. Educating myself to have a deeper understanding of climate change and all of its aspects. With a better understanding of climate change, I can then contribute ideas on how to combat it. 
  2. Use my knowledge of climate change to vote for policies that provide logical solutions. 
  3. Join forces with like-minded organizations or individuals in advocating and finding creative solutions. 

I’m hopeful that the current shutdown will help us appreciate nature and our environment even more. It’s been evident with the number of people flocking to parks, that we love getting outdoors and surrounding ourselves with trees, flowers, sunshine, and animals. Mother nature has brought so many beautiful things to our lives. Let us not forget that the simplicity of open spaces we’ve come to truly appreciate has brought us comfort, tranquility, and joy during very scary and uncertain times. Mother Earth, so kind, is always there for us. 

However, we might lose her if we don’t respect and appreciate her now. We might have a future where clean air, open space and nature are no longer with us. Therefore, we need to start our fight for climate change now, for us and for future generations. We must fight for a future of cleaner air, open space protection, and resilient and adaptable smart growth within existing urban areas.

Iron Horse Trailhead

As I end my call to action, I reflect on one of my family’s favorite go-to-spots, the Iron Horse Trail. On the asphalt path, my daughters joyfully prance and race each other. Their waves of laughter and energy warm my heart more than the sunlight on my face. For a split second, as my footstep hits the ground, I wonder how their future will be? Will they have to face respiratory problems due to polluted air? Will they ever suffer from losing their homes due to wildfires or floods as a result of climate change? 

As parents, we all have high hopes and dreams for our children. We owe it to them to reduce pollution for cleaner air and energy and build smarter, more resilient and adaptable infrastructure that will reduce significant property loss in times of increased natural disasters. 

This Earth Day, as a family, we will take a stroll on the familiar path of Iron Horse Trail. We’ll sit on the bench and bake ourselves in sunlight, breathing in the earthy scents of dirt, grass, and flowers. And while listening to the birds chirping and humming, we will know the steps we must take now to fight the war against climate change—I hope you will join us.

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