ANDREW KIM, Portable Air Quality Control, Future New. Grade 11, Henry M. Gunn High School, Palo Alto, CA.

 

The One Earth Award, sponsored in part by the Salamander Fund of the Triangle Community Foundation, recognizes four students whose creative works address and encourage the awareness of the pressing issues of human-caused climate change. Each of this year’s works not only address the impact of climate change on both humans and the environment, but also inspire readers to take action and have compassion for their fellow man. For their creativity, each student receives a $1,000 scholarship.

 

Congratulations to the 2020 national recipients!

Katherine Chuliver, Priya Dalal-Whelan, Andrew Kim, and Minnie Zhang

 

To Whom It May Not Concern

PRIYA DALAL-WHELAN, Poetry. Grade 12, Perpich Center-Arts Education, Golden Valley, MN.

To whom it may not concern: I want you to switch places.

I want you to be a little boy on an island next hurricane season. I want you to weather the storm for him, search for his missing little sister, rebuild his house. Submit his visa application to go somewhere safe. While waiting for approval, you can decide whether or not to be concerned.

I want you to be an indigenous woman who knows the land she lives on can’t feed her children. I want you to mop the oil out of her wild rice fields while working two jobs. Once the rent is paid and the children are asleep you can decide whether or not to be concerned.

I want you to be a father in the crowded urgent care waiting room for the thousandth time. I want you to listen to his child cough and cough and cough while his own breathing becomes tainted with wheezes. If you’ve paid off his medical bill, you can decide whether or not to be concerned.

I want you to be a mother in the evacuation zone next time a fire flares up. I want you to sit for hours on the jammed freeways with her children and all she owns. As you comb through the ashes of her house, you can decide whether or not to be concerned.
I want you to be a farmer in the hottest part of the world the first time the rains don’t come. I want you to feel the very laws of nature sway at his feet, I want you to watch his fields stay dry year after year. Once you’ve traversed continents to build a new life, you can decide whether or not to be concerned.

I want you to be an old woman bound to a wheelchair in the next flood. I want you to watch the photos of her grandchildren and her mother’s china set wash away. If you’re evacuated in a helicopter, you can decide whether or not to be concerned.

To whom it may not concern: switch places and see what concerns you.

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