2021, Junior, Creative Writing
I am sitting down at my computer, working on something unmemorable when the lights in my kitchen flicker on and off once. This alarms me, but I turn back to my desktop to continue working. It’s at this point in time when my screen goes black, the lights in the house shut off, and I am now completely startled and in the dark.
“Power’s off!” I hear my brother say. I spend the rest of the evening wrapped in a blanket. Why, out of all the times in the world, did the power have to go out now? In the middle of a winter storm? I brave the next few hours until finally, the power comes back on.
The next morning, I am awakened by the sounds of monotone newscasters. The headlines are eye-catching: 2.3 MILLION TEXANS WITHOUT POWER DUE TO WINTER STORM. As it turns out, Texas is the only state not connected to the national power grid. So, when unprecedented events such as a winter storm in Texas occur, the grid is not prepared. The effects are disastrous. My family thinks we have escaped whatever crisis is going on. Not for long, though.
Next is the water, a basic necessity that often goes unthought of—an expectation, really. The tap drips slowly, slowly. The city issues a boil water notice for all residents. It’s perceived as an inconsiderate statement seeing as many citizens are without power and water. Stores are closed due to the icy roads, removing them as an option. The scramble for water begins. People begin collecting snow; others scoop up pool water. Neighbors offer what they can. Bottled water centers begin opening up, the lines trail long past the ends of streets.
In an effort to heat themselves, many families turn to alternative methods such as space heaters, generators, and grills. Keeping these inside can be dangerous, and ultimately lead to many fires. In Abilene, Texas, firefighters have to stand by and watch a house burn due to the lack of water.
At home, my family boils what water we have. The unfiltered tap water tastes bitter and leaves a metallic aftertaste. I avoid drinking this at all costs. My thirst remains unquenched, a will claws at my throat.
Watching all of this unfold, it dawned on me how I was now in the midst of a major water crisis, something I had not previously thought imaginable. We are as susceptible to the effects of the loss of basic necessities (like water) as anyone else. Climate change and global warming can sometimes seem like distant terms when, in reality, we will all be affected by these changes in our environment. Here in my home state of Texas, it was insightful to see how society goes into chaos when suddenly the gift we all take for granted is taken away.
When the Texas snowstorm disaster took place, the only thing anyone was concerned about was a way to receive their basic needs. If one were to look closely, you could see humanity in its most basic form and time of dire need. Which is what I did. After seeing the effects of the disaster, I knew I had to document it, and while writing I realized how the crisis I had just faced was parallel to the climate crisis that many already face or are soon to experience if we continue down our current path. If we’re not directly impacted by climate change, it might seem like an issue that does not concern us. However, if given the opportunity to see through the eyes of others, I believe that we as a people can step up and fight for this planet.