Story of Our Life: Essay Competition 2018

Aug 31, 2018

It was a stormy summer afternoon. The clouds were dense and very dark, as if coffee sugar-canes had flew up to the sky. Strong lightning strikes lighted up the whole landscape covered in curtains of rain. Water drops slipped down the window glass as I looked to my aunt’s eyes in a last call for pity.

“I can’t let you go out like this Joan… go play basketball at the net in the cover”, she said. Oh yes, I was really a master on that back then. Rainy days combined with the strict schedule of my aunt for going to meet my friends had made me a 10-year-old Magic Johnson. I could score from every corner of the cover, even from the back of the truck. But my mood was already down; I hated rainy days.

I grew up in the industrial suburbs of Barcelona, where the only funny plans you could do outside were going to the park with the strict vigilance of your parents to play some football. At summers, my life moved to the countryside where I spent some time at my aunt’s house in the Pyrenees. It was always hard to say goodbye to my parents, my brothers and my videogames at first, but after some days I was already enjoying the stay.

Being up there for me meant having a completely different life. I could ride everywhere with my bike, play football at the school’s court, play hide and seek all around the town… and it was super fun! My favorite moment of the day, however, was when I got home in the evening, sit at my aunt’s terrace and watch the beautiful sunset over the mountains, reading a book with some cats playing around my legs. It was me, the landscape and the smell of the delicious dinner slowly boiling on the pot. Simply unbeatable.

Years passed by and I kept coming back to that town. Every single summer I looked for a month, a week or simply a couple of days to run away from the dirty city and be back to the fresh air, the ups and downs, the calm… and the beauty of that blue, green and orange view of the last light of the day over the valley in front of my eyes. I grew up, and that view kept fascinating me every single time. It takes me back to my childhood. Somehow, it will always do.

So when I grew up and had to choose on what to dedicate my life, I had it clear in my mind: I couldn’t let global warming take it all away; I could not just stand there and see how future kids missed those moments. I had to do something that could help preserve our atmosphere, our nature and our planet; I had to learn how to fight climate change. And that’s how I got into the idea of a cleaner society.

Some years later, I’m an Energy Engineer and I’m finishing my master in Renewable Energy. I share news about climate change, insist on my friends about the importance of it and even persecute my flat mates to recycle at home. I managed to make my parents switch to a green electricity provider and that, my friends, is a huge victory. In this master I worked in different sustainable energy projects inside the university and I helped two clean tech startups outside of it. And who knows, maybe one day I start one on my own.

This might only be a small drop in the ocean; I know I’m not a genius, but I dedicate every single day of my life to turn that situation around, to build up a better future with a clean air for those who live in this planet and for those who are still to come. If you are reading these words, I’m sure you see yourself in them as well. You for sure share the view and you might share as well part of the story. We share our efforts as well. Never stop fighting and never stop pushing; your steps brought you this far and now is the time to keep it rolling. We are all part of this huge challenge called climate change. We are all part of this great project called our life.


By Joan Hereu

Published on 31 August 2018

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