Photo Credit: Marilyn Humphries
EDITOR’S NOTE: Kalea Foo, a fifth-grader from Lexington, Massachusetts, delivered this speech at an October 2 protest against the proposed expansion of Hanscom Field, an airport outside Boston that already serves as New England’s largest private jet port. She joined Chuck Collins of the Institute for Policy Studies in speaking at the rally, calling for “no new private jet expansion at Hanscom or anywhere.” See highlights from the rally HERE.
An Institute for Policy Studies study reveals that Hanscom’s primary users are ultra-wealthy travelers who fly to luxury destinations for short trips, emitting tons of carbon and worsening the climate crisis. After the rally, Kalea presented a petition with over 10,000 signatures to the office of Massachusetts Governor Maura Healy, calling on the governor to stop the project. See information about the coalition fighting Hanscom expansion and sign the petition HERE
Hi, I’m Kalea Foo. I’m 10 years old, and I’m terrified for my future.
Climate change is already negatively changing Massachusetts. Dangerous heat waves and strange weather patterns. More mosquitos and ticks. Our warm winter and then a cold snap meant that no stone fruit grew this year. The constant heavy rain also destroyed many other crops. Not only did that mean less food, but it made some people not want to be farmers, which will give us less food in the future. And climate change is going to get much worse.
The wildfire in Hawaii was extremely scary and wouldn’t have happened without climate change. Imagine if that happens here, and a bunch of towns are completely destroyed and the people in them all die. Even kids.
Protest against the proposed expansion of Hanscom Field, Massachusetts State House, October 2, 2023.
But wildfires didn’t only affect Hawaii — they affected Massachusetts too. The smoke from wildfires all the way in Canada meant that we couldn’t safely go outside. At the start of the school year, we couldn’t go outside for recess because it was so hot, way hotter than what used to be normal. But some schools didn’t have air conditioning, so it was scorching inside their classrooms, and some even had to close. It’s not safe inside, and it’s not safe outside. What do you want us to do?
For our generation, this is way more than scary. Imagine knowing that we might have reached the tipping point for climate change, that there might be no turning back. We’re supposed to have the right to pursue happiness, but climate change is stealing it.
When you’re little and you steal a toy, you get a time out. When you’re an adult and you steal a car, you get arrested. But when you steal all of the next generation’s future, you don’t get a single consequence. Is it just me, or does that not seem right at all? And usually, when something’s stolen from you, you get something to make it up, or you get it back. Nothing can make up for our future.
The people who want more private jets at Hanscom would be stealing from the climate we need to buy something they just want. They also have a lot of money. This means that they already have a bunch of other benefits, and they don’t need to be able to go on trips a little faster on top of that.
Also, most people don’t fly on private jets, so this proposal would only help a tiny number of people. But do you know who this proposal would impact negatively? The whole entire population, and especially the next generation — our generation. Isn’t climate change already bad enough? Do we really need to make things worse?
The people who want more private jets at Hanscom would be stealing from the climate we NEED to buy something they just WANT.
When I grow up, I want to live in a world filled with healthy trees, clean oceans, breathable air, and not having to worry about insects and animals going extinct. Isn’t that what you all want for your kids? But I know that this won’t happen if we keep polluting our home. If things keep going the way they are, our future will be filled with deadly storms, floods, droughts, and fires. Please don’t let this happen.
If you want to help, you need to act now to stop Hanscom’s cruel proposal. Don’t just sit there and wait for other adults that are more involved in climate action to save us, because it’s not going to work. We need every single one of you to help. I’m doing my part and I need you to do yours.
About a quarter of us in Massachusetts are kids, but we can’t vote and don’t get to make these kinds of decisions. Our lives depend on you adults doing everything you can to stop private jet expansion at Hanscom.