On Friday, May 6, ACE Action Fellow and high school junior Jasmine Gregory took the stage at Climate Action 2016. She had travelled from her home in Franklinton, NC to speak to a crowd of leading climate scientists, business executives and policy experts, many of whom had no idea she was a high school junior. (Watch the video and you’ll see what we mean). We caught up with Jasmine after her trip to hear firsthand what it was like to head to the nation’s capital, share the stage with Bill Nye the Science Guy and give a youth perspective on climate change.
What was it like to travel to D.C. for the conference? Were you nervous?
Travelling to D.C. for me is nothing out of the ordinary. I have family that lives near D.C. and I've taken trips with my school to sightsee and so much more. However, this time my trip to D.C. was beyond normal! I was ecstatic to be able to have such an opportunity. I was nervous because it was such a huge and important event and all I could think about was how I was just a regular high-school girl who was going to be speaking amongst CEOs and Mr. Bill Nye himself!
Why did you feel it important was important to be there and share your story?
I felt that it was important to have a youth presence because a lot of times we as youth are not taken seriously or just left out when it comes to making and discussing decisions that ultimately affect us the most. Speaking with everyone there was an opportunity to continue to establish and expand the involvement of young people in this movement. Every young person has a unique story to be told and my hope is that my words inspired someone else to step out there and make their voice and story known.
What was the key message you wanted to get across?
I really wanted to let everyone know that youth and minority perspectives are so important when dealing with environmental decisions that affect their future. As youth, it is important to remember that our age does not prohibit us from being diligent with our voices and actions. We desire not only to be heard, but to be involved. It is also critical that minority communities, who are often affected the most by climate change, are involved in decision making processes, as they have personal perspectives on the problems at hand. My hope is that people see the importance of these groups and will move forward in ensuring youth and minority community involvement.
Were you star-struck when you met Bill Nye?
Star-struck to say the least. Bill Nye is a living legend. I can remember watching his show in school and even at home on T.V. He has done so much work for the scientific community and to even be able to meet him was notably one of the greatest moments of my life! I just really couldn't believe I was sitting next to and talking to Bill Nye.
What was the most memorable moment for you at the conference?
The most memorable moment for me had to be after we finished the panel and one of the attendees came up to me and thanked me for me reminding her what this movement is all about. That moment showed me that anytime you are genuine and you speak from your heart, it reaches people in ways you never imagined. I never expected to be thanked for just being me.
Check out more memorable photos of Jasmine's experience at Climate Action 2016 here.