YOUTH THINK CLIMATE ISSUE 1 | JULY 2020
In this issue: FEATURED: VIC BARRETT & YCAT Read their take on climate denial.
YOUTH SUBMISSIONS Young people tell powerful stories about climate change through art.
THEME: CLIMATE DENIAL /ˈklīmit dəˈnīəl/ noun Rejection of the idea that changes in the Earth's climate or weather patterns are caused by human activity. (Merriam-Webster)
Cover artwork by Vidya Muthupillai The World I See (pg 23)
CONTENTS 03 ABOUT US
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WHO WE ARE
The Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) is a national climate change activist organization that aims to move the climate change movement to center stage by empowering youth to take action. ACE educates youth and brings their voices to the frontlines through their national Action Fellowship so that they can change the narrative. Through this, ACE has made immense strides in promoting the Climate Change movement. Learn more about ACE and its story at https://acespace.org.
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MEET THE TEAM The Youth Think Climate (YTC) magazine was born out of a partnership between six Fellows from ACE Fellowships in Orlando, Florida and Madison, Wisconsin. They wanted to create a platform for youth interested in the climate movement to share their stories. Over several Zoom calls, the team worked for weeks designing this first edition, handling communication, editing, and graphic design. They are delighted to finally share the magazine with the world and inspire young activists to join the fight for climate justice. JULIAN ARENAS is an incoming sophomore who lives in Madison, Wisconsin, and is an active member of his school’s Green Club, Ecology Club, and Restorative Justice training. Julian is interested in implementing renewable energies and protecting the natural world from the atrocities of climate change. This is his first year at ACE and he is excited to continue fighting for climate justice through means of Youth Think Climate. Learn more about Julian at https://acespace.org/people/julian-arenas/.
IAN BABLER is a high school student who is a member of the Central Florida ACE Fellowship and a writer for the Climate Reporter. Inspired by youth climate crisis activists, he realized the importance of awareness to initiate change. Ian believes that by educating others on the devastating effects of climate change will play a critical role in combating the existential crisis of our time.
ARDRA CHARATH is a sixteen-year-old college student, academic coach, and activist from Madison, Wisconsin. As a member of the Alliance for Climate Education’s (ACE’s) Action Fellowship, she believes education is the cornerstone of progress and the root of an equitable future. Ardra’s passion for helping others as well as her devotion to justice and hard work empowers her to speak out on environmental injustices and she encourages others to do the same. Learn more about Ardra at https://acespace.org/people/ardra-charath/.
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BENJA KENNEDY is a part of the Youth Climate Fellowship in Madison WI. Benja works on graphic design, editing and writing on YTC. Benja enjoys volunteering around Madison, and protesting current policies that hurt the climate. Benja believes that climate justice and human equity goes hand-in-hand and when researching one topic, he will always strive to find the intersection and solutions between them.
ABBY ROSS is a Youth Organizer based in Madison, WI. She believes that the arts play a critical role in shaping social change and is therefore thrilled to support this first publication of the YTC Magazine. Learn more about Abby at https://acespace.org/people/abby-ross/.
OWEN TSAO is a youth climate activist living in Madison, Wisconsin. As a sophomore in high school, Owen takes action by being a member of the ACE action fellowship, writing articles for The Climate Reporter and volunteering. Owen thinks that the key to ending climate change is research, and he believes that with proper research, the world can prevent carbon emissions, come up with renewable energy sources, and end climate injustice. Learn more about Owen at https://acespace.org/people/owentsao/.
LIANE XU is a high school student and ACE fellow from Orlando, Florida. Inspired by other youth climate activists and scientific evidence, she realized how important collective action against the impacts of climate change and climate injustice was towards achieving the goal of creating a just and sustainable future. She believes that increasing awareness about how the current state of carbon emissions and energy usage is affecting or will affect everyone negatively in at least one way is also key to that goal.
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MEET VIC BARRETT
VIC BARRETT is from low-lying land in New York, which is threatened by rising sea levels and more frequent storm surges, and has felt firsthand climate impacts in the form of Hurricane Sandy, when his home lost power and his school and local transport shut down. Vic has been learning about and fighting against the ways environmental racism and global climate justice manifest for 5 years now. As a Fellow with the Alliance for Climate Education, Vic traveled to Paris to attend and speak at the COP21 UN Conference on Climate Change, and joined as a plaintiff in the lawsuit brought by Our Children’s Trust against the United States government for failing to act to protect our climate for future generations. After marching in solidarity with more than 400,000 people at the Peoples Climate March in New York City, he organized his peers in local frontline climate campaigns. Through his activism, he has met with the Minister of Environment and Energy for the Maldives, and met with former U.S. astronaut, Kathryn D. Sullivan, who now serves as the Administrator for NOAA, and had the honor of representing young people as a speaker at the United Nations headquarters in New York City for the High-Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Vic is now an undergraduate student at UWMadison. He currently sits on the diversity committee for the Nelson Institute to help advise and involve students of color in environmental activism, including action at the local level. Vic cares deeply about climate change, justice, and human rights, especially regarding the ways climate change affects young people like him.
QUESTION #1 YOUTH THINK CLIMATE TEAM: What inspires you to combat climate change? VIC BARRETT: I am inspired to combat climate change because of my understanding of its implications on already marginalized communities. Climate Change is a man made issue that is perpetuated by greed, white supremacy, misogyny, and other issues that far too many people have already fallen victim to. The climate crisis has so much to do with ignoring the black and brown people that hold so many of the answers on how to best coexist with nature and each other. I am deeply inspired at the thought of a world that elevates the resilience of black and brown people and am ecstatic to be a part of the climate justice movement, which actively fights for that.
QUESTION #2 YOUTH THINK CLIMATE TEAM: What have you’ve learned from speaking with climate deniers? VIC BARRETT: Something I've learned from speaking with climate deniers is that it is never smart to assume that people have the same access to the same information as you. I remember initially when interacting with climate deniers I'd become overcome with anger and shock at what I assumed was willful ignorance. "How can you ignore the facts that are right in front of you?". After further examination of these interactions, I realized that instead of shaming people for their lack of resources, becoming a resource was far more effective.
QUESTION #3 YOUTH THINK CLIMATE TEAM: In a world without climate denial, what challenges remain within the climate justice movement? VIC BARRETT: In a world without climate denial the climate justice movement would still have to overcome denial of racism, overconsumption, and wealth inequality. All of these issues heavily influence the conversation around climate justice. If people believe the climate is changing but can't accept that racism exists or that wealth is unequally distributed in this country then we cannot have climate justice.
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MEET THE YOUTH CLIMATE ACTION TEAM AN INTERVIEW WITH YCAT MEMBER, LAUREN JOHNSON THE YOUTH CLIMATE ACTION TEAM (YCAT) is a youth-led movement building a coalition of the working class to fight for climate justice. Through radical action, they are attacking the climate crisis at the root and dismantling our present capitalist system. LAUREN JOHNSON is from Madison, Wisconsin and is super excited to join the ACE Fellowship! She loves meeting new people and discussing environmental issues through Madison’s Youth Climate Action Team (YCAT) and La Follette High School’s Green Club. She got involved with climate justice work because she loves Madison’s beautiful lakes but hates seeing them covered with algae because of warming temperatures. Madison’s lakes have also flooded and destroyed homes due to increased rainfall. However, the reason Lauren continued to stay involved in this work was because she started learning more about the impacts climate change has on communities worldwide. She learned that although her city’s lake situation is unfortunate, there are so many people around the world fighting effects of climate change that are so much worse. She hopes to build connections with other young climate advocates from different regions and work with them to create solutions and better policies for everyone!
QUESTION #1 YOUTH THINK CLIMATE TEAM: What have you’ve learned from speaking with climate deniers? LAUREN JOHNSON: It’s crucial to find out what the climate denier truly cares about. Try to figure out what issues they’re passionate about and work that into your climate change conversation with them. And if you don’t know what they’re passionate about, don’t be afraid to ask! Conversations like this should be 70% listening and resonating and only 30% speaking. Ask questions and really hear and acknowledge their response. Climate change is such an intersectional issue that there will definitely be overlap with an issue that the person cares about.
QUESTION #2 YOUTH THINK CLIMATE TEAM: In a world without climate denial, what challenges remain within the climate justice movement? LAUREN JOHNSON: A huge challenge in the climate justice movement is the inertia - the tendency to do nothing and remain unchanged - that is held by people in power. I think it’s up to youth like us to put pressure on our politicians to make change, and make them understand that even though it won’t be easy, it is necessary for our futures. And even beyond the political scene, many people remain inert even if they aren’t deniers. Some people may not grasp the entire scope of the climate crisis and in those cases, I think it’s really important to once again, find issues that matter to them and weave that into the climate change discussions.
QUESTION #3 YOUTH THINK CLIMATE TEAM: Where do you find hope in the face of climate denial? LAUREN JOHNSON: There are so many fellow climate activists standing with you whether you know it or not! In the grand scheme of the climate movement, those who refuse to acknowledge and take the time to understand the science behind the issue won’t stop us from fighting for bold, transformative change! Finding organizations that hold similar values in regards to climate justice has really helped me, and I would encourage everyone to do this as well. And if those organizations don’t exist, make them exist! Go to ycat.us/hubs to find a Youth Climate Action Team Hub near you or get more information on how to start a hub!
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YOUR SUBMISSIONS WE THE PEOPLE ... - WE THE VOICES OF THE SILENCED YOUTH - DEMAND CHANGE. OUR VOICES WILL BE RAISED, AND WE AS A WHOLE WILL DISMANTLE THE INEQUITIES THAT PLAGUE OUR REALITY. SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF OUR LUNGS, WE WILL TAKE TO THE STREETS, EDUCATE OUR PEOPLE, AND DEMAND WHAT WE DESERVE BECAUSE THE POWER OF OUR MOVEMENT WEIGHS HEAVY IN OUR HEART. A SINGLE HEART UNIFYING US ALL POWERED BY OUR THIRST FOR JUSTICE - WHICH WILL NEVER STOP BEATING. WE THE PEOPLE DEMAND TO HAVE OUR VOICES HEARD. READ OUR THOUGHTS ON THE CURRENT CLIMATE EMERGENCY AND KEEP THEM IN MIND AS YOU LISTEN TO OUR POUNDING HEARTBEAT.
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THE EARTH IS LOUD. DON'T YOU HEAR IT BEGGING FOR US TO LISTEN? EVERY CLAP OF THUNDER, EVERY HOWL OF WIND, EVERY CRASH OF WATER. THIS IS THE EARTH ASKING FOR PROTECTION. - SHELBY LEIGH
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Clouds Javy Polanco Pronouns: He/Him Age: 15 Location: New York
Kyle Elshoff Pronouns: He/Him Age: 18 Location: California I decided to write a poem, "ante ala" or "unchange," to address a certain kind of climate denial. This denial lies not in the denial that climate change is real, or anthropogenic, or harmful to the planet, but the denial to work toward any sort of meaningful change or progress on climate change. I wrote my poem in toki pona, a minimalist constructed language designed by Sonja Lang. Then, I translated the poem into English. Toki pona is exceedingly simple in its design and to me personally, represents the human desire for simplicity, sustainability, and harmony. I felt it was the appropriate language in which to write a poem about global issues.
toki pi jan Kaja
poem by Kyle Elshoff
kon suli li ante li seli ma suli li ante li ike jan suli li lukin li sona li pali e ala
the climate is changing warming the earth is changing worsening the important people see and know and do nothing
Clouds to me represent freedom The careless white whispers of the sky The free floating puffs that give me faith They give me a sense of peace, knowing our Mother Nature still gives us hope to help her, with her petty revenge as a call for help Her hurricanes a warning Her heat a punishment Her rain a sign A sign to acknowledge her And to aid her In the same way she’s aided us Weather will continue to act up Climate will continue to rise Rain will continue There is no room for ignorance; For the people who refuse to see her She will be there for all She is there when poor When rich When hateful She is there whether you’re black or white Queer or straight She is there even when you don’t believe in her She gives me the moments I need to reflect on myself To realize the damage we as a species have caused And the power to use my voice and inform So clouds represent freedom, But I realize now that it was our freedom at the cost of hers 09 | YTC
A Call from the Future Bhaavya Singh Pronouns: She/Her Age: 14 Instagram: @sakura_eyagi From the view of a girl from the future, where it's not possible to go out because of air pollution, and at any time, the existence of life could be wiped out from the surface of earth.
I cannot cross the walls But through the glass window When I see the world ablaze I find myself in a haze. Years back, there were those days. When people could have acted And the planet could have been saved Sorry to say, Almighty's disgrace Leave poor nature. Man didn't Even cared for his own race And now to act, it's too late. In a few coming years Earth will be meeting its fate. I ask, who made this mistake? How can humans be great After putting their Mother at stake When it came to their homes Was their intelligence narrowed to creeks Sloth and greed turned, so called Brilliant men into freaks. Its all out of my hands now, But about the past when I think On time, if each would've planted a tree Of care caution and responsibility For Mother Earth in the years to be Then I too would be enjoying outside Living a life, happy and free.
Inner Mechanics, Dying Rock Ollie Mason Pronouns: They/Them, She/Her Age: 18 Location: Florida Instagram: @earthtoollie
welcome to the inner mechanics of #IO64JUN274509 welcome to the sunflowers that grow from pitfalls, the rejection of energy and the solar ray that fills its lungs, the dying planet, welcome to #IO64JUN274509, a reformed self that doesn’t need to breath, it just scatters and jade joints wired shut to stiff legs and crooked neck. hello sea, hello ocean, hello acid that can’t burn through each joint and shell. it was made for you, for this world. to die is to walk and in severance it grows like a sunflower, its eyes straining to see the sun shine through steel clouds- welcome to #IO64JUN274509, engineered to perfection to nonexistence, it’ll find you in the morning moon and when the night is new, its battery will be low and all is getting dark, it will be alone and the broken rock will crumble to pieces and there’ll be nothing left to remember how to remember. and it will cry to be alone it will cry to stand and uninterrupted wind pass through its cracks 10 | YTC
Layers to Life Ethan Moeller Pronouns: He/Him Age: 17 Location: Wisconsin Instagram: @saturated_queer The bigger the hole in the ozone layer gets, the more people try to stuff it with excuses It’s not political It’s not religious It’s science Not an opinion Just facts It’s only when you peel back the layers of our atmosphere you feel the effects Your eyes begin to burn along with the wildfires and then you’re done dicing our onion of an Earth and it’s too late It’s over with Now you have to wait for it to wilt Because it’s no longer onion season Maybe try next year? Until there is no next year
Scream Louder Zaara Asnani Pronouns: She/Her Age: 15 Location: California Instagram: @zaara.asnani her eyes spoke the words of rebellion. her soul spoke the language of love. they don’t hear you? scream louder. scream louder for the people in the back of the room, for those missing a seat at a table. let them craft their own from the tears and fears of the oppressed. for the women and the children who are quiet, for those who stand out and stand tall. scream louder for the ones you love and even louder for the ones who love you. for our futures to be brighter than our pasts. scream louder, for we will never be silenced. scream louder, like every word is your last. - if you’re not outraged, you’re not looking deep enough.
We Say Juliana Verzi Pronouns: She/Her Age: 13 Location: Florida Instagram: @julianavbella We keep saying it’s not happening Yet it keeps getting hotter We say it’s not true But the ice caps keep melting We say it’s nothing to worry about But the water keeps rising We keep denying it But we know what’s happening We know that our earth will be no more if we treat it like this But still we choose to deny the truth.
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SINCE OUR LEADERS ARE BEHAVING LIKE CHILDREN, WE WILL HAVE TO TAKE THE RESPONSIBILITY THEY SHOULD HAVE TAKEN LONG AGO. - GRETA THUNBERG
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An Era of Denial Ember Penney Pronouns: She/Her Age: 17 Location: North Carolina Instagram: @emberpenney Why do so many people not believe in climate change? It’s 2020, we’ve experienced catastrophic climate events all around the globe and yet, there are still those that deny its very existence. Science is not simply a topic of belief, it is fact. And to disperse preconceived notions, rising temperatures are not the only effects of climate change. In the United States alone, we have seen a great increase in extreme weather from hurricanes on the East coast to thunderstorms in the central U.S. and raging wildfires on the West coast. This is costing numerous human lives and causing considerable damage to states’ economies. In my home state of North Carolina, climate change will cost us billions of dollars within the next 75 years. This is primarily due to damage to property and the tourism sector. Climate change is not just about rising temperatures, and cannot be disproven by a snow storm in New York. It is a complex issue, and it needs action now. The only way to truly combat climate denial is through education, so let’s start there. Climate change is a multi-faceted, highly complex issue, it’s not just a crisis surrounding the environment. Since humans are connected to the Earth in a multitude of ways, the negative effects that climate change has on the environment also creates negative effects for Earth’s population as well. For example, while most people know that the changing climate brings rising temperatures, most people do not realize, or perhaps refuse to believe, that the increasing Earth temperature brings disastrous health threats. These include respiratory, cardiovascular, and cerebrovascular diseases, and extreme heat has killed thousands of people worldwide already. (Burrows) . Along with rising temperatures, extreme weather is also exacerbated by climate change. This impact also has clear implications for human health as well, as seen through the recent hurricanes that have battered the East Coast, and the wildfires that have ravaged the West Coast. In addition, intense storms are gaining power in the Midwest, damaging crucial agriculture. Drawn-out periods of heat and drought are also detrimental to crops, livestock, and irrigation in the mid-western area, which has been deemed the “Breadbasket of the World.” The damages from these storms and fires are costing the United States billions of dollars each year. In fact, in just the first six months of 2018 hurricanes and other storms contributed to over six billion dollars in damages. (Dolce). In the long-term, climate change will cost the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars. (Sparks). All these effects of climate change are addressed in the 2018 National Climate Assessment, a paper released by thirteen federal agencies every four years, reporting on the current facts of climate change. In this assessment, experts state that we must keep international temperatures from growing to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit in order to keep the worst effects of climate change at bay. (Rhea). With all this bad news and looming threats, it’s easy to write this crisis off as fake in one’s mind. Especially when there are those in power still claiming such. But sometimes, we just have to face the music. I don’t want to believe in climate change either, it’s scary and uncertain. But denying the issue will not make it disappear. That being said, believing in the changing climate is the first step, next you must understand that this is not a natural phenomenon, but human-caused. This realization should propel you into the third step: action. Lobby your representatives to pass green legislation, pressure business leaders to switch to renewable energies, and educate others on this dire crisis. We’re all in this together, educating one another is the first step.
Personal Narrative Mario Canasco Pronouns: He/Him Age: 18 Location: Wisconsin Instagram: @Mariocanancascorubio Twitter: @CanacascoMario Climate change isn’t just about “them in need” It’s about you and me; it’s bigger than “oh it’s just getting a bit warm.” The Earth is taking its last breaths and if we don’t do anything, the future will get rocky. We, the nation of youth, should all be taking a stand against climate change since we will be the ones inheriting all the worst consequences of unchecked climate change. So why should you care, it’s not affecting you, right? Well, wrong, climate change affects all of us from home-wrecking floods to droughtdried farmlands. It might not affect you now but once it does; it might be too late. Not convinced yet? Well, there are far too many examples from the city of Cape Town nearly running out of water and almost having to shut it off for the whole city to Puerto Rico who was hit with hurricane after hurricane and its struggle to make a comeback to normality. It’s easy to wave all this off from your news feed, after all, it’s not you, but you forget that it soon could be. Cause today it might feel warmer than it did last summer or maybe you felt like this winter was colder than the previous others. Climate change has been happening and still is. We as young people have to dramatically change our habits and mentality in regards to the earth. We can eat less meat, buy fewer clothes and shoes, and shop locally. But there’s a lot more that we can do and we should all educate ourselves on them. More importantly, we have to start putting the spotlight on big corporations that pollute the earth and hold them accountable. We also can use our voting power to elect green-thinking politicians. There is no replacement for our planet Earth, if we don’t take care of it, how will we live? It’s time we change our attitude and take a stand because we are not just fighting for a clean Earth- we are fighting for us.
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Climate Deniers Emily Vo Pronouns: She/Her Age: 17 Location: Florida Instagram: @emivo02
Lack of Education Causes Climate Denial Ian Babler Pronouns: He/Him Age: 17 Location: Florida Climate change, a primarily man-made phenomenon, is the existential crisis of our time. The disastrous consequences of climate change span from exterminating species to producing more devastating storms. Even with the widespread negative impacts, the US education system is failing to address climate change - leading to an increase in climate denial and a lack of progress towards addressing climate change. The US education system is not listening to the voices of its teachers and parents. According to NPR, 84 percent of parents and 86 percent of teachers believe that schools should teach about climate change; however, only 42 percent of teachers incorporate climate change in their curriculum. The lack of education about climate change is most likely the lead cause for one-quarter of Americans being climate skeptics, according to a report released by the Public Religion Research Institute. Unsurprisingly, only 42 percent of parents talk to their children about climate issues. The absence of education and parental communication is possibly the principal reason why there is little change in confronting this phenomenon. Within the 42 percent of teachers that do educate about climate change, there are many that misinform their students about the causes and impacts of climate change. A nationwide survey of 1,500 middle and high school science teachers found that nearly two-thirds of educators were not teaching students using scientific evidence about climate change. The study also found that 33 percent of teachers either misinformed students about the causes of climate change or avoided the causes entirely. By the school system withholding information or misinforming students on the havoc and stress that climate change will inflict on them, the school system is hindering the country from progressing to end the existential crisis of our time. Education is the only way to end climate denial. That is why organizations that fight to educate and empower youths, like Alliance for Climate Education (ACE), are so essential. These organizations provide youths a voice and in turn, ensures a more climate sustainable future for generations to come.
Growing up in South Florida, you get used to the constant humidity and extreme rainfall. I always thought this was normal and I didn’t mind staying indoors all day. However, in 2017, when Hurricane Irma struck the Caribbean islands and much of South Florida, my family and close friends experienced one of the most frightening times of our lives. Excessive flooding and the lack of power caused many families to evacuate their homes and leave their personal belongings. I was extremely lucky to have a stable shelter and a strong support system. And in the next few weeks, I had already returned to school. It was an uneasy, yet anxious return. In my 9th grade English class, we began to discuss the ramifications of the devastating storm and the subsequent lack of political action. It all culminated in a heated argument on climate change and addressing climate justice. I was privileged to be back in school when I knew thousands of families were displaced and struggling to get aid. Then, from the kid next to me, I hear “Get over it, climate change isn’t even real. We get storms like this every year, so there’s nothing you can really do.” A wave of shouts and groans ensued as one after the other launched back retorts. It was infuriating. How could he say that when so many people in nearby communities felt the direct consequences that he so clearly denied? But, although there was heavy opposition to his statement, even less action was taken, which remains true today on an even larger socio-political scale. We have 9 years and 168 days until 2030 to avoid catastrophic damages to our environment. As students, we are oftentimes overwhelmed by this possibility. It is daunting to imagine such a looming presence that most leaders and politicians continue to ignore. Many of us have heard this phrase in one way or another saying, “enjoy being a kid; don’t worry about all this.” But, on a daily basis, we witness the flaws and shortcomings of adults around us. The time for debating and arguing is over; it is not enough to merely discuss the consequences. The need for international action on climate policy must be addressed for the sake of a sustainable environment and the health of future generations.
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Climate Change: But We’re Not Changing A nation risen with concern for action in a government that refuses to address, let alone face the facts
Lindsey Donovan Pronouns: She/Her Age: 22 Location: Texas Instagram: @lindaa_what Twitter: @hallo_babyy Since the topic of climate change first erupted nearly 30 years ago as front page news, not only has the conversation grown, but the lasting and damaging effects, taking nearly 100 years to collect the data and convince the public that it was a pressing issue to cover. It was Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish scientist who first suggested that coal burning would have a warming effect on climate dating back to 1896. Today, the 4th National Climate Assessment establishes their detailed report of the effects to impact at a communal, economic, oceanic, agricultural, and recreational level. It also breaks down into groups for ways to respond at a societal, regional, and national level. Though, this review of analytics is useless to communities that are lacking the insights given by scientists simply because their government constantly refutes them, redirects their platforms elsewhere, or summarizes their action into support in which no action follows. Our country’s “phony brand of ‘environmentalism’ means gutting the Endangered Species Act, bowing down to polluting industries, and denying climate change while the world burns,” Travis Nichols, a Greenpeace USA spokesman, said in a statement. Additionally, in recent months, our country announced an intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, an agreement that deals with greenhouse-gas emission control, finance and litigation. “American climate change deniers have been remarkably successful in confusing public opinion and delaying decisive action,” Jean-Daniel Collomb states in his article The Ideology of Climate Change Denial in the United States. It’s alarming just how difficult addressing the issue itself is for the officials in power. This is no longer a difference of opinion, but a lack of representation of the truth at hand. If public officials do not push for it, it is less likely to be taken seriously. Concerns in the current climate include, Greenland’s melting ice sheet predicted to generate more sea level rise than estimated before, global temperature increase, which NASA, under the UN, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) breaks down the greater effects in a Special Report on Global Warming that factors in target goals from the Paris Agreement to establish the threat of climate change, vehicles effect on air quality with the smog, carbon monoxide, and other toxins emitted are “especially troubling because they leave tailpipes at street level, where humans breathe the polluted air directly into their lungs." Volkswagen has taken the initiative to become the first company to only sell electric run cars and cut carbon emissions concerning the effects gas fueled cars have on the environment.
The issue at the center of all these concerns remains the same whether politicians want to say it or not; is big corporations. A recently published report discovered that 100 energy companies are responsible for 71% of all industrial emissions since the idea that human-driven climate change was challenged as the biggest contribution. With the shift of focus onto those responsible and liable, and off of individuals trying to use metal straws as cause for action, can the issue really begin to be resolved. Given their attention regarding the topic, it was found in a 2018 Gallup Analysis that 70% of adults aged 18 to 34 say they worry about global warming compared to 56% of those aged 55 or older. With this in mind, it is apparent that the conversation has expanded as well as been placed upon citizens shoulders to deal with as they see fit; their own action requires change. In some ways, it is on the citizens shoulders, to elect officials who will turn conversation into policy.
Climate Change: Vote to Protect Our But Home Olivia Olavarria Pronouns: She/Her Age: 17 Location: North Carolina Instagram: @Olivia_Olavarria Our world is falling apart right in front of our eyes while most people are doing nothing about it. Climate change is a very real issue that affects all of us. This is our only home and if we destroy this planet we‘ll have nowhere to go. Earth is the only place we have and we must do all we can to care for it. We can’t just sit back and watch our planet to be destroyed, especially not by our leaders who should be protecting us and our land. Our administration has rolled back dozens of environmental regulations, worked with fossil fuel industries, and gone as far as to call climate change a “hoax.” please vote for more environmentally conscious candidates no matter what in this upcoming election. Your vote matters now more than ever. We need change and we need it now.
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Personal Narrative Zella Milfred Pronouns: She/Her Age: 17 Location: Wisconsin When I was a kid, my best friend Mariah and I had a tree that we called ours. I was too short to reach its first branch, so she would always give me a boost up. It was a place that in some ways became a centerpiece to our friendship. (It even had a name, but that is still top secret information!) A couple of months ago, we went back to visit our tree, and it had been cut down. Now, this sole tree was surely not what inspired me to join the climate movement. But those outdoor childhood adventures have made me appreciate nature and everything within it much more. Growing up, I became aware of how easily the natural world can be damaged and taken away. And how some people disproportionately lose it first. To truly understand the intricacies of climate change, we must be aware of how it impacts people differently around the globe. In Madison, Wisconsin, we have seen our lakes grow dirty. And because of increased temperature, algae blooms occur more often than ever. By contamination and careless action, not everyone has access to clean water to drink. Seeing politicians roll-back legislation that is meant to protect our environment makes me angry. And seeing corporations value making a profit over the wellbeing of the public makes me lose faith in those with power. In the 17 years of my life, I have felt how the connections between people can be so powerful, and getting to work with others who share an understanding and empathy for this cause has been incredibly moving. I am grateful for the opportunities I have gotten to educate my school, family, and city about climate change through speaking, writing, and collaborating. With the help of programs like ACE I have learned more about it myself. Through our actions, I hope people of all backgrounds feel valued and represented. We need to take better care of our environment and of each other.
Sugar Svanfridur Mura Pronouns: She/Her Age: 14 Location: New Jersey Twitter: @WOClimateAction
I like to compare climate denial to sugar. I was raised to think that all sugar is bad. It tastes good, but it is the root of our failing health and I would inevitably die young if I ate it. At least, that’s what my mother told me. In the same way, when I asked (like many kids do) why people aren’t just putting a stop to climate change already, I was told that climate denial was at the root of it all, that climate denial was the evil killing our planet, just like sugar was the evil killing our health. Around the same age in which I assumed all sugar was bad, I also assumed that there was no climate denial taking place around me. All my friends, my teachers, and my family understood it, acknowledged it, and took their own little actions. I heard about climate denial on the news and read about it online, but I only noticed it in the way that one notices an obstacle that is far, far off and very, very small. Climate denial was bad, but also something I’d never see in those I was close to, right? I mean, my family didn’t eat sugar, and they didn’t deny climate change. At least, I thought so. But, unbeknownst to me at first, was that like sugar, climate denial can come in many forms and hide in practically anything. I was talking about something climate-related at the dinner table one night, discussing it with my parents. Who knows what it was; for visualization purposes (and maybe to help you connect this with your own experiences) you can go ahead and stick any dire climate-related issue in the “We were talking about:” category. That’s what we were talking about, my parents and I. Across from me, however, my brother wasn’t talking. He sat there silently, picking at his food and staring mostly at his plate as I grew more and more animated. Occasionally his eyes would flick up to us like we were semi-interesting flies or a commercial he was waiting to end so that he could watch his show or YouTube video while he picked at the fabric of his shirt sleeve. I didn’t think he was listening, and didn’t pay him much attention; not at the way he flinched when my voice grew louder, or at the way his shoulders were growing more hunched, or at the low whine that was building in the back of his throat. Not until he shouted it.
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Piping Plovers Julianna Baldo Age: 17 Location: Wisconsin Instagram: @j_i_b_03
Denial: A Step Towards Acceptance Issac Smith Pronouns: He/Him Age: 18 Location: North Carolina Instagram: @issac__17_ Hi, my name is Issac Smith. I’m a senior ACE fellow. Now, I’m in college, but while I was in high school I had my first encounter with a climate change denier. I always kept the company of a diverse group of people. I had hoped that having different personalities and perspectives would better prepare me for the real world. However, sometimes it was just aggravating. I remember this story vividly as it was my very first experience with a climate change denier. Once, while in study hall, my friends and I were discussing current events. It was a pretty interesting discussion, although we were mostly joking around, up until we started sharing our knowledge on climate change. One of my friends thought it was independent thinking that led him to believe view climate change as a hoax. From what I can remember of that discussion-turned-argument, he said, “the climate changes all the time.” He’s not wrong about that. The climate does change all the time. In fact, he later went on to clarify that “that’s just how seasons work.” And, once again, he was not wrong. Then he finished his statement with “we have no control over what happens in nature.” To a certain degree, he was right. But he went on to deny any influence mankind has had on the climate. Fortunately, study hall ended before insults were thrown. The incident made me think, how many of my friends, my peers, reasonable people, were believers that climate change was not a thing? So I asked my friends what they thought on the matter. I went as far as to ask why they thought that way and where they got their information from. A lot of my friends got their information from news channels that their parents watched. Most of my friends never outright said that it was due to their parent’s influence that they believed what they believed; yet, all my friends who didn’t believe in climate change got their information from the same sources as their parents. I talked to the friend that unintentionally set me on this task of discovery about where he got his information. He too got his information from a source his parents used. And, after a lot of convincing and fact-checking, my other friends and I were able to convince him climate change can be influenced by mankind. We couldn’t convince him of anything more, but it was a start. And that was enough to give me hope that other climate change deniers can have a change of heart
The first time I learned about climate change was in first or second grade, and I remember not understanding it beyond being excited that my summers would be warmer and I could stay outside longer to play in the winter. As I advanced through elementary school, the urgency in my curriculum grew; I learned about the greenhouse effect, memorized a long list of endangered species in my fourth grade science class, and was encouraged to recycle my plastic straws. Nevertheless, climate change still seemed like an abstraction -something scary but distant that I personally didn’t see and didn’t have to worry about. The alarming degree to which climate change can affect all of us personally didn’t become clear to me until I started middle school. The summer after fifth grade, I attended a summer camp at the University of Wisconsin where I learned about some of the endangered species native to Wisconsin and how to identify them. My favorite species was the piping plover, a small, semi-aquatic bird that nests on gravel beaches and lakeshores throughout the Midwest. Formerly one of the more populous shorebird species of the Midwest, (there were an estimated 800-900 nesting pairs in Wisconsin in the early 1900s populations declined drastically as shoreline habitat was converted and blocked off in the 1980s for recreational use. By 1986, there were barely 5 regular nesting pairs left in Wisconsin and since then, the population has increased slowly as their habitat continues to be threatened. A few months after I finished camp, I saw a piping plover on the shore of the pond near my house. At first I didn’t think much of my discovery, but when I remembered what I had learned, it struck me that that might be my first and last time ever seeing one in the wild. This revelation was different from everything I had learned about the seemingly distant threat of climate change and habitat destruction in the past -- this was a real, personal effect that I was witnessing practically in my backyard. It worried and saddened me, and I didn’t see the bird again for the rest of the summer. When I started school again in the fall, the lessons in my science classes about climate change had taken on a new dimension for me, and I understood that the global trends that we were talking about were already causing tangible and distressingly intimate effects in my life and the natural spaces I cared about. I began to pay more attention and noticed changes everywhere -the hot summer a few years later that caused the same pond where I had seen the plover to evaporate almost completely away, the blooms of invasive garlic mustard that sprouted all over my yard, the plastic bags constantly blowing into the trees near my school. As these changes continued to grow, I finally understood the urgency of what I had been learning about in class for years. The piping plover’s story has luckily ended happily; through habitat restoration programs across the Midwest, ecologists recorded 76 breeding pairs in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula last year and the population is steadily growing. Nevertheless, the plover will always remain a symbol to me of how deeply the climate crisis affects each of us personally and our individual obligations to shape the world around us.
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The Four Brothers and the Second Sun: A Retelling of the Koch Brothers’ American Legacy Hannah Wilson-Black Pronouns: She/Her Age: 19 Location: Virginia Instagram: @thenotorioushwb Twitter: @hswilsonb Facebook: Hannah Wilson-Black My child, you have asked me many times why the sky hangs choked with gray and brown and yet it doesn’t rain. Why the old giants are gone from the forests of their birth. Why the sea looks so angry. The answer, or rather the story, is long, and woven with so many threads it may be impossible to see their paths in the tapestry. But I can grab hold of one thread at a time and tell you about it as best I can. I have already told you the stories of the world’s creation. Almost as numerous as these are the stories of its destruction, though they don’t have an end yet, just a long, elastic middle. But if you’ll bear with me, I will tell you one. Before you were here and before I was here, from a field of golden wheat bordered by four long dirt roads, grew four brothers. They were born of the Sun itself. All were pale as a bird’s egg and with temperaments as different as the four cardinal winds. Four always means trouble, sometimes good trouble and sometimes bad. The oldest, Frederick, liked to read, as well as imagine his own stories. Most days he could be found contemplating the drama of the sunset or building figures of sticks and stone with which to act out the great battles of his imagination. Perhaps he was always different from his brothers, always destined to leave the place of his birth. In any case, the weather of the wheat plains was not kind to him — the wind stung his eyes and, in winter, sleet bit his ankles. The Sun gradually became, in his eyes, less brilliant and more oppressive. Sometimes its heat was so unbearable on his shining forehead that Frederick felt as if he alone was being punished. Unlike his brothers, he knew early that the plains of their birth were not for him. He felt out of place, like a rejected stepchild, and had no need for the greatness for which his brothers felt themselves destined, being children of the Sun itself. In the Sun, Frederick’s brothers saw brilliance and warm attention where Frederick saw only oppressive heat and a harsh glare. Earth had not rounded the Sun thirteen times before he rode a passing storm east to a shining city built by those long dead. In doing so, he escaped the memory of the world, which can be very harsh indeed, or very forgiving. It is best not to gamble with the world’s memory, better to be forgotten than lauded or loathed, he decided, and left his three brothers to fend for themselves.
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The Ecosystem of Community Noemy E. Lesieutre Pronouns: She/Her Age: 16 Location: Wisconsin Instagram: @n_lesieutre and @In_Pursuit_Of_Sunshine When I hear about climate change in the news, I remember a friend I once had. I remember her transferring to my school mid year and so I asked her why she didn’t start at the beginning of the year. She told me that she had to move in with her grandmother because in her old neighborhood, the water wasn’t safe to drink. We became good friends and when summer came we played in the woods and picked flowers. I remember the day she left, I picked a big bouquet of flowers for her to take. I watched her bike away with yellow, pink, and white flowers in her hair. Last summer she came back to visit her grandmother and I asked if she wanted to see me and so we met up at the end of my street to go for a walk. We walked, but nothing felt familiar and I looked for the flowers we once picked. The places we used to go were flooded and the plants were taken over by invasive species. “How did I let this happen?” I asked her. She didn’t say much but I could tell it bothered her. I never knew what it was like to live without water and be silenced or feel like I wasn’t wanted. But I saw the effects on the neighborhood she lived in changed, and how they lost the chance to house an inspiring and wonderful person like my friend. I saw how the plants were pushed out of their natural environment and how the once resilient natives were beginning to die out. I tell this story because I believe that we are resilient, just like the native species that have lived here for millions of years. Each of us plays an important part in the ecosystem of our own community, and I hope that we can learn from this and protect others whose homes are being destroyed. In the news, we hear about ecosystems that have collapsed, but it is those communities that like those ecosystems collapse because they have been robbed of the resources they need. And in that, I urge you to plant a seed, share a story, share some resources, and most of all protect a friend. I remember the feeling of losing something that I could have saved, but you don’t have to. We can rise like the plants that are resilient enough to come back each year and fight for the resources it deserves. Because like us, they are all important and have the right to grow.
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Your Ignorance & Stupidity is Literally Drowning Me Lauren King Pronouns: She/Her Age: 20 Location: California Instagram: @_laurenkinggg We have known about climate change for over thirty years now, but barely any significant changes have occurred. We are watching our world be destroyed by human actions that can change, and we have done nothing significant to create a difference. Why? Because the human race has an inconvenient mind. Our thirst for convenience, makes us knowingly commit actions that destroy the earth. Humans have turned the environment into a political debate, our government tries to deny that it is real, and even US citizens believe climate change is not a problem. These issues lead to no significant action taken and have arisen because of people’s lack of ability to cope with inconvenient situations. Communities around the world may be aware of climate change as a concept, but many people do not see the effects of it on a daily basis, so it doesn't create an influence within them. This is a global issue that will affect everyone, but the problem is, it will affect everyone differently; therefore, people will act with either less or more urgency. Jeff Goodell's The Water Will Come uses a conflict theorist perspective to highlight the social and environmental injustices set in motion by climate change. Goodell states that "the basic injustice of climate change is that the people who are least responsible for the problems are the ones who will pay the most dearly for it" (169). Climate change is a world issue that affects wealthy and poor communities differently. The injustice of this falls within the fact that communities who have had the smallest effect on climate change are being destroyed by the communities who have had the biggest impact. Poor communities are suffering at a greater extent because they don't have the resources to prepare for what's to come. When sea levels rise, they cannot afford to raise infrastructure or create technologies to keep the water out and they are losing land and resources disabling them from thriving. Unfortunately, the fate of their communities is in the hands of countries such as the United States to create policies to slow down the effects of climate change. Wealthier cities and countries are at an advantage in the climate crisis. This is quite ironic especially considering that wealthier countries are the ones most responsible, yet seem to be the least affected. We have seen many United States’ coastal cities struggle from flooding, hurricanes, and fires, but we have always had the means to rebuild and create resilience. Yet, because of this, the U.S. seems to hold the idea that we are invincible. When the water comes, we can build our infrastructure higher; when the fires come, we can rebuild our homes, and as of right now, we seem to have enough resources for people to thrive and not fight. New York City has tried to come up with ways to block the water from coming in as sea-level rise occurs. Clearly, New York understands they are at high risk and want to prepare themselves for the future, but what is getting in their way? The wealthy. New York City proposed a plan called the BIG U which is a solid wall wrapping around lower Manhattan.
Destruction Nama Pandey Pronouns: She/Her Age: 16 Location: Wisconsin Instagram: @namapandeyy Growing up with two homes has been a very special privilege. Two homes, two families, two places where I feel the safest and the most cared for. With all of my extended family living in India, we spend many summers there. During my last visit to India, when I was eleven years old, I started noticing differences in my community. Walking through the streets that have been memorized since I was six years old, the thickening air and polluted streets startled me. With the change in air quality came intense periods of heat, to a point where my family found it dangerous to spend more than an allotted time outside. What had become of my home? A home where I had spent hours outside and witnessed an innumerable amount of monsoons. As days went by during that last visit, I started noticing more changes in my community. The streets, which had been known for strong aromas of spices and upbeat music, had now become a crowded home for the homeless, who were now surrounded by sewer water and garbage. But that was only the beginning. I then noticed the number of struggles people around India were facing to find clean water. The amount of difficulty they are still having is terrifying. My grandparents are growing old with developing health issues, and they do not have the facilities to travel all around the city to find clean water. Water is a necessity to live, why is it so hard to find? During that moment, I pieced it together; water scarcity, pollution, and the worsening air quality were all effects of climate change. The small community that has always been known as my sanctuary, is changing. These frightful changes are all due to the growing amount of carbon emissions and human activity. Our Earth is deteriorating, and our communities are falling apart. Climate change disproportionately affects disadvantaged individuals, leading to a number of health issues, population displacements, and food insecurity, all presented in India. I’m watching my community cripple with my own two eyes. Climate change is real, and it’s our generation who will stop it from breaking any more homes.
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NATURE IS PAINTING FOR US, DAY AFTER DAY, PICTURES OF INIFINTE BEAUTY - JOHN RUSKIN
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Revolve The Earth is on Fire "The Earth is on Fire" is straightforward in terms of content, and I was reflecting on the mass global climate protests that were occurring during that period. I used leftover pieces of fabric and thread, and by using stamps, I carved in a printmaking class and stamped it onto the fabric. Then, I sewed the pieces together.
"Revolve" is a collage of car engine parts, mixed with a chaotic watercolor scene. The circular elements exemplify the cycle that is taking place, as our daily forms of transportation pollute the Earth worse every day, and it doesn't seem to be stopping anytime soon.
Jasmin Palermo Pronouns: She/Her Age: 17 Location: Florida Website: JasminPalermo.com
Disruption "Disruption" is a collage of airplane turbines, and the circular elements in the background reinforce the idea that there is a lack of change and evolution to accept climate change and act on it in our everyday lives.
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Leilina Patel Pronouns: She/Her Age: 17 Location: Florida
One Phrase, Two Outcomes
The Hidden Cost of Consumerism
Tiffania Lee Pronouns: She/Her Age: 17 Location: North Carolina Instagram: @tiffanie.99
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The World I See The bubble in which people perceive that everything is fine isn’t the reality my generation and I live—our world is on fire and we can’t help but see it. Our activism seeks to shatter the barrier of willful ignorance and perception of safety because our time is running out to fix climate change.
Vidya Muthupillai Pronouns: She/Her Age: 17 Location: Texas Instagram: @vicassasquirrel
Climate Anxiety For frontline communities like Houston, it’s impossible to deny that the back to back years of devastating flooding and hurricanes aren’t climaterelated because everywhere we look, there are flood lines, abandoned houses, and memories of streets of rivers.
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Protesting at the Wisconsin State Capitol To End The Effects Climate Change Has on The Ocean Savanah Shadof Pronouns: She/Her Age: 17 Location: Wisconsin Instagram: @monarchrose17
Cutting the Trees Cutting down the trees that provide air for us to breathe as companies expand - polluting the air and killing the bees that bring us flowers everywhere. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s help make the world better for the future generations of tomorrow. Tomorrow, more wild beasts will become extinct, and the streets and beaches worldwide will be destroyed by the trash we leave behind. How can we sleep knowing we are destroying the world we live in? Bit by bit, we can turn it all around: recycle, give back, think before you act. Stand together and fight for what is right. Plant a tree and save more lives, providing air for all to survive. Pick up the trash you leave behind and give back to the world that gives you life.
Chrystal Odinaeva Pronouns: She/Her Location: New York Facebook: https://www.facebook.co m/chrystal.odinaeva.1/ Website: https://www.behance.net /chrystaodinaev1990
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“It’s the little things we do that will make the difference. Our thing is sharing youth voices.” - Youth Think Climate
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oin our network of thousands of young people here. You'll receive local and national updates about climate change and opportunities to take action. You can also text "ACT" to 42108.
hat first step or individual action will you take? Eating less meat? Talking to others about climate change? Riding your bike instead of driving? Get inspired here.
CHECK OUT OTHER CLIMATE JUSTICE ORGANIZATIONS he fight for climate justice is an international one. Here is a list of youth led/youth focused organizations: Sunrise Movement Zero Hour Powershift Network Our Children's Trust The Climate Reporter Youth Climate Action Team T
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YOUTH TALK CLIMATE New and upcoming podcast! Along with this magazine, ACE fellows from the Dane County, WI area are creating a podcast titled "Youth Talk Climate." It will explore all things climate related and amplify the voices of young people affected by these issues around the world. Tunein this fall for a non-partisan look at climate justice, environmental policy, ways to take action, and the stories of people working for a cleaner future. More details coming soon!
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Thank you to everyone who submitted their work and for giving us the opportunity to share your voices. We would also like to express our gratitude towards our readers and supporters. This publication wouldn't have been possible without you. Sincerely, the Youth Think Climate Team
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