Climate change is already here.

Jordan Stevenson is a Fall Fellow with Our Climate studying at Eastern Washington University. She is from Vancouver, WA.

I’m supporting the #PutAPriceOnIt campaign because climate change is here already. I want to tell you a short story about the effects of climate change on my life, because sometimes the statistics are hard to remember.

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest is kind of magical. Sure, there are a rainy days, but when the breathtaking mist emerges from the evergreen trees, you can understand the beauty of the rain.  The mountains slope into valleys, covered in vegetation, in life. From the middle of a forest, you could breathe in the nature like breathing in the smell of the sea.

In many parts of Washington, breathing is becoming more difficult. Forest fires have become ubiquitous this summer—you may have heard about them. You may not know that forest fires are exacerbated by climate change, which is in turn created by pollution. The mist has been replaced by smoke.

Now, I’m not an athletic person by any means but I love to hike through the scenery. It’s just how I was raised—living in Washington, you can’t really escape the outdoors. My parents used to drag me and my siblings on random trails, sometimes driving for an hour to reach beautiful waterfalls, volcanoes, lakes, and mountains.

But now, hiking is almost impossible for me and my siblings, all asthmatics. When you want to stay healthy, you stay inside. When you want to control what goes into your precious body, you stay away from the beauty that you became accustomed to as a kid.

I want to raise my own child someday amongst forests and mist. I want her to see deer and rabbits and hear the birds chirp in the morning. I want to drag her to Olympic National Forest, and I want there to be something left to see. But if we continue to allow polluters to remain unchecked, that future will be gone for myself, for my child, and for everyone else, too.

#PutAPriceOnIt now – or future generations will pay.

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