Need some Monday inspiration? Meet Robert, Lauren, Teja and Tayt, four young climate leaders who will be heading to EPA hearings this week in Washington D.C and Atlanta. At the hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday, they will tell their stories and testify in support of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and strict limits on CO2 emissions under the Clean Air Act. Despite being faced with one of the most monumental challenges in history in climate change – a problem caused by the older generations that are so quick to discount the impact of young people – these youth climate leaders are rising to that challenge.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen young people step up for a greener future. Last Fall, ACE sent several students to the EPA headquarters in Washington D.C. to tell their stories and push for the limiting of carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act. Despite sitting in the same room as lobbyists for the coal industry, these young people held their own and voiced their concerns with passion, making it clear that they saw climate change as one of the most pressing issues of their generation. Said Kwanesha Love, a senior at Central High School in Capitol Heights, Maryland:
“Climate change won’t just affect this generation, but many generations yet to come.”
In June, 2014, EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy announced an EPA proposal to limit CO2 emissions from all coal-fired power plants, with the goal of reducing emissions 30% from 2005 levels. This standard would allow states to set their own strategies to hit customized goals according to a national timeline. It’s been called the strongest action ever taken by a president on climate change and young people have a huge stake in seeing it through. Robert, Lauren, Teja and Tayt understand that as the generation of the future, they have the most to lose from our inaction and the most to gain from a future free of fossil fuels, which is why they’re headed to hearings on the Clean Power Plan to testify in support.
While these youth climate leaders will be challenging coal lobbyists and deniers to make their voices heard, you can support their work by submitting a public comment on the EPA’s website by October 16th, 2014. Let them know that you understand the impact climate change will have on your community and you want to see limits on CO2 emissions. Young people around the country are doing their part but all of us need to step up to solve this problem.