Youth Speaks on Climate Change

By: Ally Teper (Class of 2019)

The week of September 10th,  students from MarinSEL were well represented at the Global Climate Action Summit held in San Francisco, CA. Senior Cameron Evans and junior Eleanor Huang spoke alongside influential environmentalists at events, which drew hundreds of leaders and climate activists from all around the world.

Eleanor Huang was a part of a panel discussion at the event, Education: Key to Long-Term Climate Action Success. She spoke passionately to the audience about youth involvement.

"I challenge all here to involve and engage youth in everything you do. I don’t know what climate challenges are coming. I do know that if you give us a chance, my generation can solve them." Huang’s passionate speech led to participants creating ‘Eleanor for President in 2028” posters in the break out activity.  

Pictured (left to right): Dr. Tom Adams (Deputy Superintendent, California Department of Education), Michael Watkins (Superintendent of Santa Cruz County Office of Education), Juanita Chen (STEM and College & Career Pathways Coordinator, Rialto Unified School District), Kahri Boykin (Teacher, Yosemite Continuation High School), and Eleanor Huang (11th grade student at MarinSEL).

MarinSEL senior Ana Ostrovsky, who helped lead a break out session during the event at the Global Climate Action Summit affiliate event was greatly impacted by what she saw during the event saying, “I feel confident in my generation to continue to be movers and shakers, constantly questioning what we feel is not right. I think my generation sees that all issues are connected; social justice and environmental justice, even gun control, and we are going to do everything in our power to leave this earth better than how we inherited it. We know that we can't afford to waste any more time because we might be the last generation before it is too late.”

MarinSEL senior Max Manwaring-Mueller spent the day taking video and conducting interviews to capture the innovative work in climate education around the world happening at the Global Climate Action Summit. “I was not aware of how climate-illiterate students are across the nation – not their fault of course. Yet with what I saw in the conference, I feel like a push to spread curriculum that mandates climate literacy into common core classes. I do feel hope for the future.”

In addition to the event Eleanor, Ana, and Max participated in, MarinSEL senior Cameron also spoke at a local Marin Global Climate Action Summit affiliate event, Lead on Climate. Cameron spoke alongside Congressman Jared Huffman, Marin Supervisors Kate Sears and Damon Connolly, and Novato Mayor Josh Fryday. “While I wish I could say that I was an internationally recognized leader, a physicist, professor, policy maker, any of the above...I sadly cannot. I am the most average of teenagers who has simply discovered  the power of her own voice. I bring that voice here tonight to represent the restless youth in a growing movement to change our planet for the better.” You can watch Cameron’s full speech here.

Post-Global Climate Action Summit, the MarinSEL students are ready more than ever to take a leadership role in the global climate community. MarinSEL students stood on a global platform and they were poised and influential, proving that student voices are powerful and can make a difference.