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Youth Climate Activism

James Baldwin

In a couple of our recent episodes, guests have mentioned that the most important thing we can do for sustainability is get involved. This week, we will be talking to someone doing just that.

Our episode today is on youth climate activism. According to research done by the UN, close to half a million youth world wide have taken action on climate, and 84% of surveyed young people agree that more information is needed to prevent climate change.

It seems the younger generation is paving the way for increased consciousness of environmentalism and sustainability. This is a global movement, and to shed some light on the driving force behind it, I spoke with a young climate activist from right here in Idaho.

Jeff Jenks is a 17 year old student at Boise online schools. He hopes to go on to attend college to study environmental science and earn a Master’s Degree in mycology. He recently got involved with the Idaho Climate Justice League, a student coalition that works in conjunction with the Sierra Club. It is a group of highly motivated students working to improve environmental conditions through lobbying, raising awareness for issues and solutions, and education. For the past two years, the Idaho Climate Justice League has been working in Boise to reduce the amount of carbon emitted by city departments. Jeff was happy to reported that they have made progress by getting the Boise school districts to pass a resolution to have clean energy by 2040 and 100% clean electricity by 2030.

Jeff goes on to explain how he thinks it is very important for young people to get involved with climate advocacy, as there is uncertainty about what the future will be in terms of environment. He also goes on to state that despite the circumstances and how far we have to go, he does have hope for the future and believes that his generation is full of ambitious people who are ready to do the work.

Katie Kelshaw is a graduate of Boise State University with a Masters of Arts in Political Science where she has since taught as an adjunct professor. She is born and raised in Pocatello, where her family are farmers and business owners. Katie is an active member in an advocacy organization called Action Corps Idaho, where she helps run campaigns around Climate Justice and a Global COVID Response.