By Gabrielle Galchen
History is not just the past, but also the present and the future. However, it is our decisions as a collective that majorly decide how history runs its course. This poem, titled “Forgotten Ignorance,” describes how climate change should be affecting everyone equally, yet people of color are getting more hard-hit because of the racism and socioeconomic inequality in our society. As such, advocating for a clean climate is inherently linked to advocating for racial equality.
Dear Greenhouse Gas, I thought you saw no colors; you seeped black, brown and white out from every postcard and I gotta tell you: like the perfect storm, you do your job well. You taint the golden state red as enraged candles flare to fire. Eyes spot skin into red lumps to match your foggy green blanket; trapped in the melting trees a little girl in a white shirt stands still, clouded in a smoky halo. When she boils water in her head, she has to rein in her dissipating dreams under your reign you snatch every last droplet and she knows rain will soon be dead, and the ground will drown in its own drought. They say that their Christian angels void you and you’re a Chinese fairytale; you exhale like a dragon and vomit fire because you know that their scales will never sizzle. They lick glinting nothings in the ground to fuel their pity-cars over the blaring pop-culture of Sandy’s and Maria’s. They sing out from their window that this isn’t their problem, because even Katy Perry’s song is into weather that is “hot and then cold,” because they’ll die before their cars crash into floods that match their eyes, because on their windshields they draw dust into diaries that tell a reality only other peoples’ kids will have to read. One day, that little girl with sunken yellow-rimmed eyes leaves her school desk empty. This doesn’t hit them close to home, but she’s not too far away. Droughts mean that now her family needs her help too; two degrees hotter in the past couple centuries and when everyone darker than your sunny accomplice suffers, it’s become obvious that though you don’t see colors it’s been too long ignored that they do, that we do- and Dear Greenhouse Gas, I'm sorry I blamed you for a snake we created because its venom hasn't abated so we have to change the climate of our earth, our politics, our mentality; only then will we have a worthwhile reality.
Half Israeli and half American, Gabrielle Galchen will never quite fit in except for when she writes, when she belongs solely to herself and feels the most complete. As a senior in high school, writing is her objective way to make sense of the world and find herself. She is so honored to participate in a program in which she can pursue her passion; Girls Write Now has truly made her high school experience.