by Lindsy M.
Less than a month ago I was lucky enough to attend the very first Seattle Youth Climate Action Network (SYCAN) Summit at the Woodland Park Zoo. Ever since the summit I have been able to reflect upon what a truly unique opportunity it was. As someone who is sixteen years old, educational opportunities that go beyond the typical high school curriculum are not readily available.
The second I received the invitation to attend such an innovative summit I was signed up instantly. Upon arrival at the Summit I met an entire new group of people that shared a common interest; our environment. This incredible group of people are stoked about saving our environment and improving our sustainability as a community and on a global scale. This might not seem unordinary until you consider the fact that this entire group was around my age, with a few members as young as fifteen! It was emphasized throughout the summit that younger generations are going to be the change, and that it is up to us in order to make any kind of progress.
The honest truth as well as the compelling reason that progress is not occurring as fast as it needs to be is due to the lack of motivation within our community. People are not directing a sufficient amount of time towards improving our climate because they won’t see the entire range of benefits in their lifetime. Unfortunately without proper time being spent improving our community, not a whole lot can be done on a large scale. The summit’s wonderful keynote speaker and many other important guests summarized the idea that unless climate change becomes a priority, change will be pushed further and further away from our reach. They also mentioned that starting small is going to be the most effective way to implement change on a larger spectrum in to the future.
This is where the entire youth population can really make a difference. Though we aren’t old enough to vote, live by ourselves, or visit a doctor without permission, the guidelines pertinent to changing our climate for the better are in our control. The summit was an incredible way to learn about the environment but the key message that I derived from the entire day was that not only is helping our climate relevant but it is possible. The underlying question that was addressed throughout the summit was “Why not now?”, so fellow youth I ask you, why not now?
The youth in blue shirts are the active members of SYCAN that helped cultivate the summit and make sure that it ran smoothly and impacted each and everyone in attendance.
Upon arrival at the summit, we were asked if we wanted to sign a ribbon with our names and what mattered about the environment. It was later explained that these ribbons were going to be sent to the Paris conference (COP 21) of which 190+ countries would send representatives to debate the next steps in climate change. Many of these countries also participated in this ribbon act and will also be sending a collection to the conference.