I didn’t understand what global warming was. Good thing I do now

Climate change is a complex topic. Do your research

Mia Sherin

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On one rare occasion last year, I actually did my Spanish homework the night before it was due, rather than in the final thirty seconds of the passing period. That’s right, bow down.

We were given twenty vocabulary words and were required to write a definition for each in Spanish. All of the words had to do with the environment. When it came time to define “global warming,” I wrote the first thing that came to my mind, and my assembly of notecards chugged on. I didn’t think twice.

Later that day, I wished that I had.

In class, my partner and I shared our definitions as the other guessed the vocabulary word. I read my definition for global warming. He stared at me, puzzled, unsure of which vocabulary word I was describing. His finger scrolled up and down his vocabulary sheet, stopping at the bottom. He looked up at me.

“I was describing global warming,” I said plainly.

“No, you weren’t,” he replied. “That’s not the meaning of global warming.”

I looked down at my notecard and read the definition in my head. It was something along the lines of, “when the world is melting.” Yes, you read that correctly. That is what I thought global warming was. Last year. When I was a junior in high school. Okay, now we can move on.

“Mia, do you know what global warming is?” my partner questioned.

“Well…I know it’s bad, and I know it’s real…” I stuttered.

“That is the most liberal thing I have ever heard.”

To an extent, he was right. I didn’t really know what global warming was, and I got any information I had from biased sources. I knew global warming was real because conservatives said it wasn’t. I knew global warming was bad because Hillary Clinton told me so.

Not to say that global warming isn’t real or isn’t bad, but it was time for me to educate myself so that I could hold up important conversations on climate change. Or at least be able to write a definition of global warming for Spanish class.

No, I didn’t go home and research global warming into the depths of the night with “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore playing.

This was not a major-life-change movie scene. I learned about climate change slowly, having conversations with my family, friends, and peers with different political views.

I urge you all to promote education on climate change, starting with yourself. I understand that I am not the most qualified person to make this request, but I am qualified to say that it is easy to let yourself remain ignorant on environmental issues.

Educating yourself does not just mean talking to your parents. It does not just mean talking to your friends with whom you agree on everything, even like what couples to root for on “Riverdale”. It means being uncomfortable.

Whether you are conservative, liberal, or somewhere in between, do not let yourself be put in a box because you lack a well-rounded view on the subject.

It is totally acceptable to align your views with your political affiliation, after you educate yourself. I still believe that climate change is “real” and “bad,” but now I know why. More importantly, I understand why others question this.

Basically, I am a perfect human being and have had an amazing comeback story, going from being completely ignorant on global warming to being a goddess on environmental issues. Okay, glad we got that out there.

We can promote education on climate change by talking to others. More often than not, people do not have bad intentions.

It is important to give them the benefit of the doubt, and assume that information is all they need. Not an eye roll.

I hope everyone is aware that I just made a total fool of myself. I was not dying to tell all my classmates that I thought global warming was “when the world is melting”. But hopefully this shows how easy it is to remain in your political bubble, or even just lack the basic facts on climate change. I’ve been there. Ask my Spanish class. They know.

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