By Mason, YES! Youth Staff
During the month of March, YES! was dedicated to learning about climate justice and environmental justice and how we can apply what we learned into the work we do. The weekend of March 1-3, we went to the NC Climate Justice Summit in Browns Summit NC. I not only learned a lot about climate justice but also a lot about myself. As soon as we arrived, I knew we were going to have a good time while also learning a lot. The first session I was exposed to new things and I can admit I was reluctant to try new things at first; but, after seeing others having fun, I joined in. Throughout the weekend, there were many sessions available for you to choose from. I went to several sessions (whole group and breakout). The first session was a panel of professionals. The panel talked about how it was our natural responsibility to speak up for people when we see injustices happening. Climate change isn’t just fossil fuels being burned and creating greenhouse gases, it’s the erasing of people and the forced movement of people due to man-made causes. The Atlantic pipeline going through the natural territory in North Carolina is an example of why we should speak up against climate change and speak up for the indigenous people in the very state we share. They’re not vulnerable, they are targeted.
On the weekend of March 14-16, the YES! offices of Charlotte and McDowell joined together and attended the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training in Atlanta. The training was hosted by Former Vice President Al Gore with many other amazing guest speakers and breakout sessions in between. We learned how climate change and global warming are linked to social justice and how environmental injustices are social injustices. During the main stage presentations and panels, we learned about what environmental justice and climate justice are and seeing real-world examples of what we are doing to the planet we call home. The breakout sessions lead by the guest speakers and professionals showed us skills we can take home and share with our communities in order to raise awareness and make a change because what affects one of us, affects all of us.
The month of March really opened my eyes to what is going on in the world. What I mean by this is I didn’t realize how intertwined climate justice and social justice really are. An example is if the increase in temperature in an area has caused a drought or natural disaster that disrupts the peace that every human being has the right to, it is now a social justice issue. Overall, the month of March has made even more invested in climate justice and environmental justice showed me that I want to see a change in my community and in the world and helped me to realize through YES! I have the power to do so.
To learn more about YES! Environmental & Climate Justice work, contact Kaleia Martin: Kaleia@youthempoweredsolutions.org