Kristin Rodrigo, Canada, 22 years old
On the bright, sunny morning of April 13th, I made my way to the downtown core of Toronto, Canada to face the tallest free-standing building in North America, the CN Tower. On any other day, this famous landmark would rarely grab my attention as it had blended in with the scenery of my daily route to work, but on this special day, I was going to climb all 1,815 ft of it. All for protecting the wildlife in our natural world.
Since 1994, WWF-Canada has provided Canadians the unique opportunity to climb 1,776 steps of the CN Tower to generate awareness on the importance of habitat protection and wildlife conservation. Working towards the protection of healthy and functioning ecosystems, like the marine waters and the Arctic, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) encourages each participant to fundraise a minimum of $120 to climb the CN Tower. This 2019, a whopping $1.4 million was raised by hundreds of people, ages 4 to 80+ years old!
Climbing for the very first time was nerve-wracking and daunting, but I managed to climb to the top in 29 minutes and 12 seconds! 144 floors was no easy task (
as I didn’t even train, whoops), but as I climbed each flight, I was motivated by the poster-covered walls with drawings of school children reminding us what we were climbing for. Posters adorned with sketches of monkeys and turtles. Coloured images of the polar bear and the arctic fox’s habitats. Motivational messages filled with passion to protect our planet. All meant to tug at your heartstrings and fuel your climb till the very last step.
Canada has been predicted to be one of the very first countries to be affected by climate change, with a warming rate twice as fast as the rest of the world. With about 40% of Canada’s landmass classified as the Arctic, a warming rate double the average would have devastating effects to this remarkable and unique habitat, and would precipitate irreversible effects to the landscape. Due to the topography of Canada’s terrain, the loss of snow and sea ice would bring about increased absorption of solar radiation, causing larger areas to experience surface warming. Despite these bleak projections, one must still consider the hope in the IPCC Scientific Report, that we still have time if we act now. We need commitment from countries across the globe to drastically reduce our carbon emissions and invest in green energy alternatives. It’s critical, now more than ever, for effective collaborative efforts from each citizen on this planet.
Canadian Earth citizen, I am concerned for the future of this country this entire planet. We are facing massive losses in natural resources, species abundance and richness, and human existence in itself. As a young 22-year old, I am concerned for what is to come for my generation and the future ones to come after, as we face the full force impact of climate change that is to come.
And that is why I climbed. I climbed to raise awareness for my family, friends and peers. For them to open their eyes and see how important it is to take action now. For them to understand climate change and recognize the magnitude of its consequences. For them to take responsibility.
One does not need to climb a massive tower to spread conservation awareness. It can simply start with a conversation. Why is it important to you that we protect our nature’s habitats and species? Why is it valuable for you to preserve our land and ocean’s resources? Why is it vital now more than ever that we stand up for our planet? Because it’s our home.
Build that connection and nurture its passion. Starting now.