I can think of no better reason to do everything to fight climate change than our next generation. Our youth will be on the front lines dealing with sky-high temperatures, super storms, droughts, and rising sea levels. Maybe that’s why our teens are taking big steps to fight against the damage that another generation actually caused. Here’s how our teens are taking on climate change.
1. Suing politicians over inaction on climate change.
Kelsey Juliana and her co-plaintiff Olivia Chernaik are both suing Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) and the state for not doing enough to protect future generations from the devastating effects of climate change.
“This could be a landmark decision on the question: Does government, as trustee over our essential natural resources, have to protect it from carbon pollution and the impacts of climate disruption?” Julia Olson, executive director of the nonprofit Our Children’s Trust, and originator of a suite of youth-led lawsuits since 2011, said to Huffington Post.
2. Designing eco-friendly clothing at age 14.
Maya Penn founded Maya’s Ideas at age 8. Today, at age 14 she designs and handmakes eco-friendly clothing. She’s been taking bamboo, organic cotton, and leftover fabrics and creating designs that have been purchased all over the world. They’ve been worn by Michael Franti, Jasmine Guy, Sara Blakely, and Samuel L. Jackson. And she donates 10-20 percent of her profits to environmental charities.
3. Standing up for what’s right.
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, the youth director of Earth Guardians believes its time to stand up for what’s right. His impassioned speech at a U.N. event on climate change left the audience in awe. He’s already organized youth crews to fight climate change on six continents. Here’s what he said to Rolling Stone:
“We inherited this way of thinking from past generations: conquer the earth, take ownership of it, dominate it. Right now, the world doesn’t see we’re a part of nature, that when we cut down the rainforest or blow apart a mountain to get the coal inside, or when we drill the Arctic, that’s tearing apart the only home we’ve got.”
4. Teens turning green.
The organization Teens Turning Green was initially started as Teens for Safe Cosmetics in 2005 to remove harmful ingredients from cosmetics. But today the organization has a number of pilot programs including Project Green Challenge for high school and college students, The Conscious Kitchen, to bring organic, non-GMO foods to schools, and Project Green Dorm, which provides teens with everything they need to live green in the dorms.
Teens are realizing that they will feel the brunt of climate change and taking action isn’t just a good idea, it’s a necessity. From climate activism to green businesses and even lawsuits, we love today’s teens for all the good work they’re doing.
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