On Sunday, March 13th I had the privilege of attending Chesapeake Conversations: Telling Youth Climate Stories. As the community outreach intern for IPC, I was able to see much of the work that happened behind the scenes to create this event. I can say with no doubt that all of the hard work done by our team truly paid off. This event made it possible to form an atmosphere for people of different backgrounds and faiths to come together and discuss their experiences with climate change.
Now more than ever it is essential that the voices of our youth be heard and acknowledged. Our youth speaker, Soleil gave a powerful speech that brought to attention the effect that climate change has on refugees. Ending her speech with a sense of hope for the future, Soleil definitively invoked within me faith that our environmental future can and will improve.
Dr. Bethany Wiggin presented her research project, My Climate Story. Her method of approaching climate issues through a human and personal perspective made me realize that we are all interconnected in one way or another. Climate change is an issue that affects all lives. It is not something that will affect us in the far future but something already affecting us now.
Another major component of this event was an opportunity for facilitated group discussion. The small groups gave me an insight into people’s unique stories. I was able to hear a wide range of climate stories, from people being scared to let their children play outside due to increased mosquito populations to people having to sell their homes due to immense flooding.
Through these conversations, I was able to discover how climate change affects me. At first, it was hard to think how climate change has impacted me. I thought that my life was free from the consequences of climate change. Through some intense self-reflection, I learned that living in Southern California, fires and droughts have affected my nearby communities more than ever. If we all think about it, climate change affects us all one way or another. You might see the effects of climate change in your own backyard or even in the thousands of precious bodies of water that run throughout the Susquehanna region. You also have a climate story to tell that can inspire someone else to share theirs.
If you would like to learn more about Dr. Bethany’s research project and share your own climate story visit: https://my-climate-story.org
We would also like to thank Grandview Church for opening its doors to hosting our climate conversation.
Join us for part four of the Chesapeake Conversations series as we celebrate clean water policy.
Pictures taken by Gates Rhodes, volunteer photographer for the My Climate Story project.
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