by Charlotte Youth Staff
Last month in Brown Summit, North Carolina, the YES! Charlotte office attended the NC Climate Justice Summit. Over the duration of the NC Climate Justice Summit, we were able to learn a lot about the different aspects of climate change and how we can make a difference.
During the summit, we covered the role Duke Energy plays in the worsening of our planet from fracking, which brings harmful chemicals like uranium to the surface, to how they pay political officials to keep their mouth shut about it. In some rural communities, due to the harmful impacts of biogas, cancer is almost inevitable. In the Resilience Hubs workshop, we thought of different disaster scenarios in our own community and brainstormed ways to help the community prepare. Then we went through the emotional phases that people go through due to a disaster and what breathing exercises can help with stress. Along with attending the trainings YES! was able to facilitate a training on racism and youth empowerment.
This experience shaped our work at YES! because we learned that we can’t work towards fixing a problem without finding out the root of the issue and acknowledging everyone involved. In the beginning of the summit, we were confused as to why the focus was primarily on Native Americans until we realized that this was originally their land and that the “destruction of the environment is an attack on indigenous people.” Being able to fully assess the issue not only makes it more inclusive but it makes our campaign more effective. Overall, our favorite part of the experience was how open the summit was. Anyone had the space to talk whether you were an experienced climate justice warrior who has attended the summit all of the five years, or this was your first time, which made us feel comfortable when we talked considering this was our first climate justice summit.