By Sandi Khine
Most high school students may not realize that they have the power to create change, but for Arcadia High School rising senior Hailey Cheng, it goes a little differently: she has actively taken matters into her own hands and is driven to create positive change.
Activist and advocate Cheng has created a petition viewable on petitions.whitehouse.gov, entitled “Donald Trump: Recognize Climate Change and Stop Rollback of Environmental Policies.” While the petition was created only a few weeks ago, it already has over 400 signatures and has been widely circulating the social media feeds of teens in the San Gabriel Valley. However, the petition will need 100,000 total signatures by June 26, 2019, to get an official response from the White House.
Climate change has been a hot topic of late, and Cheng “was inspired because of the recent scary climate change reports—a report recently released by the UN panel on climate change stated that if we don’t take dramatic action to curb fossil fuel usage, our world will go on runaway, irreversible climate change by 2030.” Furthermore, Cheng was horrified after learning this news to realize that President “Trump and his supporters in Congress who actually have the ability to make dramatic wide-reaching change choose to deny climate change and mislead the American public.” Cheng began this petition so that American representatives would realize that action is imperative.
Given the scale of the petition, Cheng acknowledges that 100,000 signatures in a month “is a pretty hefty amount considering [she is] just one teenage girl.” However, Cheng knows that her impact does not have to extend all the way to the White House to truly make a difference. Already, in the local communities, the petition has “raised so much awareness about the current state of our environment,” and “many people are at least more informed of the steps they can take to help combat climate change and fight for a better world.”
View this post on Instagram
The current warming on earth is not driven by changes in the sun activities 🌞 but long-lived greenhouse gases in the atmosphere . Temperature & climate-related impacts will increase dramatically unless we meet the 1.5°C goal of the #ParisAgreement #ClimateAmbition #ClimateAction 🙌💚🌎🌏🌍 . 🎥 Video by @wmo_omm
While the petition may not gain the traction it needs to be acknowledged by the White House, Cheng wants at the end of the day to help others, “whether that is someone realizing that their voice matters and is inspired to make another petition, whether that is someone choosing to recycle and use less water, whether that is the next senator, president, scientist, or other leader who chooses to fight for a better world because they know that combating climate change matters.”
Cheng is clearly driven and passionate about fighting climate change and political activism, even as a teenager. To other students who may feel disillusioned about the power of their voices, she says: “Your voice matters. Use it.”