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ISBN: 9781935552017
Contest Winners #225
Tell President Obama why he should focus on climate change
Writing Contest Winners

1st Prize
Flooding in North Carolina

Lena Hu, 16,
Chapel Hill, NC

Dear President Obama,

My name is Lena and I am a high school student who is very concerned about climate change. I’ve spent most of my life enthralled by environmental and marine sciences, urging my parents to take me to see tide pools by the beach or fish in aquariums, and these interests culminate in a more serious way when it comes to climate change and sea level rise. To me, these environmental problems aren’t just present issues, but impending disasters for the future. To secure the future of not just America, but the entire world, I strongly urge you to make climate change a priority for our nation today.

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According to a recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, melting polar ice and thermally expanding ocean water have accelerated sea level rise to its highest rate in 6,000 years. If levels continue to rise at this rate, coastal communities like Annapolis, Maryland and Washington, D.C. could experience extreme flooding by 2030. In a few decades, the entire island nation of the Maldives, home to over 400,000 people, could be completely submerged by the ocean.

Mr. President, I implore you to remember that it was only a few years ago that our country was hit with devastating hurricanes like Irene and Sandy. These storms not only destroyed countless homes and property, but also took American lives. And it cost our government millions of dollars to repair the damage: a process that continues even as I write this letter. In my own state of North Carolina, Hurricane Sandy sent powerful waves onto the Outer Banks, washing out parts of NC Highway 12 and destroying cherished homes in the process.

When it comes to climate change, I believe that everyone has a role to play. For my part, as a full-time student in high school, I can study the subject and try to stay informed about advancements in the field.

However, you have the power and the influence to make the changes that could either safeguard or doom generations to come. If you choose to focus on environmental policies, you will be taking that vital step to spurring societal sustainability and protecting human life—especially the youth of this country who will grow up and be forced to face the catastrophic effects of decades of human environmental abuse.

When reflecting on the increasing number of earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and cyclones that have struck communities around the world, it is clear that something needs to be done to protect the families that live on coasts and islands. Something needs to be done to prevent the reckless loss of life and property that has resulted from years of lackluster focus on environmental policy. President Obama, something big needs to be done and it needs to be done sooner rather than later.
For the protection of mankind now and in the future, for the safety of cities and towns across America, for the preservation of quality of life for societies around the world, I am asking you to please make climate change a priority in this country today.


2nd Prize
Weird Weather In Connecticut

Kayley Chapeton, 16,
Middletown HS, Middletown, CT

Dear Mr. President,

I am from Connecticut and I am 16 years old. I have not lived that long of a life. But I can tell you that in all my years of living on this earth of ours, I have not seen the bipolar weather we are dealing with today. If we do not act fast to deal with climate change, many lives will be lost. Climate change affects human health and where we can live. If you think about it, climate change affects our food supply, entertainment, and economy. Mr. President by the end of this letter climate change will be a priority to you.

Winter Storm Nemo is the storm that left Middletown and other areas of Connecticut without electricity for almost a week and half. We had about three feet of snow. I remember I was happy. Almost everyone from school was. No school! But then there was no electricity. Many people who had lived in the area for a long time said they had not seen a blizzard this bad in decades. Yet, last year we had another storm. These bizarre, more frequent blizzards are a result of climate change. They can kill people by the cold or because of accidents from the snow. Snow storms also affect our education since many schools are closed or damaged from all the snow that falls.

Also, think of all the people who will have to relocate if the ocean levels keep rising. Where will they move? Hurricane Sandy is a perfect example of how places we thought were never going to be hit by hurricanes are flood zones now and not safe. I have many friends in Manhattan who told me about subways being flooded, and a restaurant that closed because the owner could not afford to restore it.

Climate change not only makes winter colder and harder to deal with, but it makes summers hotter and drier. One of my best friends, Gabriella, lives in Santa Ana, California. When I went to visit her this May, there was a drought going on. We passed a place where there is supposed to be water. It was bone dry. “That’s where people who love to skateboard and ride bikes go. Since there’s no water they can easily practice their tricks,’’ she said while driving me to her house.

With summers becoming harsher, water might become a luxury. Droughts also mean our food supply will be affected since crops cannot grow without water.

Everyone loses from climate change. Owners of businesses, students, and drivers get affected. People’s property gets damaged. Water and food shortages will become more frequent. This problem not only affects people living in New York, Connecticut, and California, but people around this country. More and more hurtful weather and outcomes will result if we do not act now to control climate change. So please make climate change your priority.

Most Respectfully,
Kayley Chapeton

3rd Prize
The Ice Caps Are Melting

Randy Guzman, 17,
West Side HS, New York, NY

Dear President Obama,

We have been learning about climate change and global warming in school. It’s worrying to me that so much is happening in the world because of global warming and it’s because of us. If we start now and do something about climate change, we can save the world and everyone and everything in it.

The ice in cold places, like Antarctica, Greenland, and the Arctic Circle, is melting and the animals that live there are struggling. This is happening because of global warming. If the ice keeps melting, the polar bears won’t have a place to live and will be forced to swim further and further to find food—sometimes drowning in the process. They are losing their homes due to climate change.

It is scaring me that the sea level is rising around the world and New York City will end up under water if we don’t do anything about climate change. The sea level could rise four to eight inches over the next 10 years in the city. It may not sound like a lot, but it is. It’s predicted that New York City will be under water in the next few centuries. We still have time to make a change.

I would like to make a change now. On Sunday, September 21, hundreds of thousands of people marched in The People’s Climate March to try and stop global warming. If more people start protesting, then maybe the people will start listening to us.

However it’s you, President Obama, who needs to listen. As leader of the free world, you are in the driver’s seat. You should help make a change in global warming and help save the people and animals all over the world. Then and only then will I, your daughters, and our whole generation have the same future you had as a teen.

Runner Up
Drought in California

Kristin Ader, 16,
Massapequa HS, Massapequa Park, NY

Dear President Obama,

On October 29, 2012, tragedy struck not only my family, but thousands of families in and around my hometown of Massapequa, Long Island. The flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy filled my house with over 10 feet of water, forcing us to evacuate and lose the house that my brothers and I grew up in.

This kind of extreme flooding could be happening more and more due to climate change, meaning there will be more families who have to lose everything they own. Climate change is an issue that should be prioritized because an increased number of people without homes means the unemployment numbers would increase, which would further hurt the United States economy.

For example, New York City is an iconic city throughout the world that brings in an impressive amount of revenue from tourism. If New York City was struck with demolishing flooding that wiped out parts of the city, thousands of jobs would be lost and the city would not bring in as much money as it does currently.

Also, climate change can affect our food supply. California grows over 400 different crops that cannot be grown anywhere else in America, including raisins, almonds, olives, pistachios, prunes, and walnuts. Climate change could mean these crops can no longer be grown there, and the the United States would have to depend on foreign countries for these widely used foods.

Once I graduate college, my peers and I will be trying to get jobs and settle down to start families. This issue needs to be resolved sooner rather than later because the future of America is in the hands of the current generation, and if climate change continues there may not be any opportunities in the United States for my generation.

Contest #225 - Honorable Mentions
Amaireni Adames, Kristin Ader, Lee Beckett, Chania Brady, Jamila Brown, Patrick Castro, Kayley Chapeton , Fernando Gomez, Keyarash Hatamzadeh, Lynnai James, Jennifer Leon, Juan Marti, Ariel Martinez, Maxine Morales, Michael Orozco, Edgar Ortega, Tracy Peprah, Lorenzo Perez, Jeremy Ramirez, Clarifer Reynoso, Phyllis Rojas, Ashley Roth, Christopher Soler, Shauna Smith, Brandon Vargas, Madelyn Zappitelli.

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