This story was originally created by Rumaitha Al Busaidi during the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training in Minneapolis in 2019.
The first distant star you see during sunset; that’s the meaning of my name.
Throughout my life, I never took the meaning of my name seriously and in fact actually hated it. But that all changed one cold summer evening as the sun was bidding me farewell, while I tried to keep myself warm snuggling in my sub-zero sleeping bag laying on the ice cold ice.
I was surrounded by the calming silence of glaciers and ice around me with the most stellar view I had ever seen in my life greeting me. It was the view of the Milky Way staring right in front of me in the closest proximity I’ve ever experienced. Millions of specks of stars greeting me and giving me a reason to love my name again.
It dawned on me then that stars don’t shine without darkness, but with the light in my everyday environment, I was taking it for granted.
But then, a large sound overpowered that spectacular scene. It was a crackling sound that caused alarm and made my heart stop.
I sat up, as I and those around me realized that it was the sound of a nearby glacier splitting, forcing us to flee in fear of an avalanche that would bury us.
I was in Antarctica in a bid to become the youngest woman of my country to reach the South Pole and while many days later that bid was a successful set record in history, that Milky Way view and crackling sound remain as my reminder to not take my surroundings for granted.
It was a reminder that it was time for all of us to change our ways and to wake up from our slumber, and I’ve been doing that ever since; giving the environment the voice it doesn’t have. It was my awakening!