An open letter to the young people of the United States

October 15, 2020

SierraNew scientific understanding shows we can drastically reduce the time it takes for our environment to stabilize if we elect a leader who will get us back on track with IPCC carbon emission guidelines

Hi my name is Sierra, I am 23 years old and this is beyond an opinion piece; for me, this is a piece of my heart and a plea to everyone, young, old, black, white, brown, purple, democrat or republican to vote to save our collective future.

Starting now and until November 3rd we must vote-in someone with the best interest of this planet and its people in mind.

In Environmental Studies at UCSB, a lot of us would joke (but more like inwardly cry) we have ESD (Environmental Studies Depression) because almost every day we went to class after class learning about how modern human behavior mixed with greed has and is causing irreversible devastation on planetary health.

I graduated from UCSB simultaneously feeling fired up to make change and completely burnt out and hopeless.

As the Trump administration continued to endanger the wild/natural world I loved and continued to ignore and beat down historically oppressed communities(ex: low income/underserved and indigenous communities) I found myself asking, where is my passion-my energy to fight?

As I struggled to find jobs (LOL and myself) and the global pandemic took off, my energy fizzled and reignited at the same time. I found myself, and still find myself, riding a roller coaster of depression and elation, feeling immense love and within seconds intense hatred and anger, feeling like I know my place in the world and then like I’m floating in an endless dark paralyzing abyss.

People often say that’s just how this stage in life feels and that’s just how it goes in your early twenties but WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL THIS IS NOT JUST “HOW IT GOES”!

We live in truly unprecedented times (I would say un-president-ed times because we clearly lack a presidential leader) and it is really hard to be a young person right now because the future often looks really shitty with all the news spewing doom and devastation.

But it is not all doom and gloom.

Last Sunday on 60 minutes professor, Michael Mann, from Penn State University, dropped a good news BOMB on our world in relation to climate change. Mann revealed new scientific understanding that our planet still has a chance to avoid climate breakdown… and recover faster than previously predicted if, and only if, we stick to IPCC guidelines to reduce our emissions by 5 percent every year and halve emissions by 2030. If we elect a leader who will get us back on track to hit these marks global warming lag time (The time between halting CO2 emissions and halting temperature rise) could be “more like three to five years” instead of the previously thought to be 50.


We can turn things around but we gotta V-O-T-E.

I speak to you – the recently graduated – the what-the-hell-do-I-do-now-ers.

Let me say– I feel you.

But as crazy as the outside and inner world is right now and as much as it feels debilitating, there is something you can do right now and that thing is vote.

We must vote president Voldemort *excuse me* President Donald Trump out of his little White(supremacist)House to give our planet, our people, our plants, and our animals, micro and macro, a chance at life. Another 4 years with Trump as our president (who refuses to fight emissions and instead rolls back climate regulations) would kill our chances of preventing a catastrophic rise in global temperature.

All the issues we face today are interrelated, from racism to global CO2 concentrations. If we start to tackle one part of the beast we will start to weaken the whole beast! Yes, we have a fucked-up system that is all tangled up and our problems are complexly interrelated but this also means solving one issue helps resolve others simultaneously. Injustices happening to marginalized communities and the earth are interconnected and one in the same @Intersectional environmentalism!

We still have time to reverse the previously thought to be “irreversible damage” and hit IPCC guidelines for emission reductions and reduce the warming time to “more like three to five years.” instead of 50. But we have to


We have to give the USA the chance to do its part in protecting our planet and our people.

If you don’t know who to vote for, vote for your future, and not for Donald Trump.

Yes, Biden may not be the best, you may not like him in the slightest, but voting for Donald Trump ensures 4 more years of climate inaction and solidifies the devastating fate of our environment and front-line communities (communities at the front line of climate change’s negative effects).

I’m writing this because I love you and I love the fricken world so much and I know there are so many of us out there… and if we choose to not label ourselves by our political affiliation, color, who we choose to love, what diet we eat, or god we pray to, and we have to focus on our common ground, literally, our common ground (our earth below our feet–our air that which we breathe–and water that we drink )and come together and vote for it and vote for us, then we will have a chance to turn things around and bring into reality an America and world we are proud of.

“I hope my writing challenges you to think differently and empowers your own self-exploration and love journey. I truly believe a more fulfilling and environmentally/socially just way of living exist if we come together on our common ground and see each other for what we really are … one of the same.–Sierra Emrick

Sierra Emrick

Sierra is a UC Santa Barbara, Environmental Studies alumna who writes for a Regenerative Organic Farm in coastal California and a seaweed harvesting startup. Sierra writes to educate the general public on topics such as intersectional environmentalism, ocean and terrestrial farming, and expose the connection between human and environmental wellbeing. With experience working in aquaculture, environmental education, marine conservation, university research labs, and terrestrial conservation institutions, she brings her broad perspective to every piece she writes.

Tags: American climate change policy, American environmental policy, American politics, voting rights