June Member of the Month: Gabriel Aguto

Written by Gabriel Aguto |

My advocacy for climate action frankly stems from common sense. Now, I absolutely love nature. The beautiful sights and sounds in the woods are some of the most calming experiences I’ve had. And I share an appreciation of majestic wildlife with many. I’m devastated when I see any of our unique earth be ruined. Photos and videos revealing burning water and razed mountains, the victims of fracking, are truly sobering. But there’s a big problem, and it’s that some people just do not care. Everyone has their own tribulations, and it is rightly difficult to have one’s mind on endangered species if struggling to make ends meet. And for those who aren’t in dire straits financially, the pursuit of wealth can often consume their entire mindset.

So if endangered species and a shrinking Amazon can't convince humans to care about climate change, what can?

Climate change seems like a far away occurrence to most who don’t feel the direct effects, no matter what reputable science tells them. And who can blame them? Despite the rising number of films dealing with apocalyptic/catastrophic/dystopian events or universes(currently Mad Max: Fury Road and San Andreas off the top of my head), no one wants the world to end or to hear that they must make difficult lifestyle changes to stop it. So if endangered species and a shrinking Amazon can’t convince humans to care about climate change, what can?

I hope that the answer lies in other humans. See, the real victims of fracking are people, the people who have experienced terrible illnesses because of contaminated drinking water, for instance. The victims of ever more frequent droughts are people like those in California. The victims of more frequent monster storms are people like those in the Philippines who lost their homes due to Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. My hope is that apathy is broken by human compassion, or at least the realization that you could be the next person gravely affected by climate change.

I think the iMatter organization is a great way to effectively communicate the urgency of climate change. For example, through the report card system, we plan to work on the local level to help people realize that global warming is a problem now in their community. I believe it’s imperative to include youth in this effort. Of course we want to convince as many current voters as possible to advocate for legislation on climate change. But it’s the youth that will be impacted even more, and must push for action to save our planet and everyone on it.

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