(All photos by Jose Carpio)

By Jose Carpio

The Ojai Valley in the U.S. state of California is suffering from climate change. Air temperatures have been unusually high, and there’s been below-average rainfall.

The effects can be seen in dried-out creeks and the low level of Lake Casitas — a major source of water for the entire valley, which is northwest of Los Angeles.

The Thomas Fire of a year ago compounded Ojai’s woes. The blaze burned 273,400 acres and destroyed nearly 1,000 homes. The Thacher School, where I study, was forced to evacuate as were residents of Ojai city.

Plants have started sprouting in the area, proof that the ground is healing after the devastation of the fire.

The last two pictures in my photo report illustrate Thacher’s efforts to establish a more sustainable environment. The school has installed a special irrigation system for the Upper Playing Field, which reduces water consumption, and solar panels now supply 92-to-95 percent of the campus’s energy.

This photo essay allowed me to combine two things that I love: raising awareness of real problems and photography. Hopefully, others will be inspired by my work and find sustainable ways to live.

Jose Carpio lives in Hawthorne, California, and is in his second-to-last year at The Thacher School. He became interested in photography in his second year of high school, then started a photography club and is now his class’s head representative to the school yearbook. He is considering photojournalism as a career choice.

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ScienceEnvironmentClimate change has come to my school in California
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