Teens Take Charge on Climate Change

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Our spring e-lert described the efforts of a band of high school students working with iMatter, one of NCS’ projects, to fight climate change on the local level. The young people asked the St. Louis Park City Council to adopt a Climate Inheritance Resolution, committing the city to set aggressive goals to reduce greenhouse gases locally, get youth involved, and start developing a plan within 30 days.

After receiving more than 550 student petition signatures, and the Youth Climate Report Card suggesting a need for significant improvement, the city of St. Louis Park, a first-ring suburb of Minneapolis, become the first municipality to adopt the iMatter Resolution.

Sophia Skinner, junior at St. Louis Park High School, told the council, “I want to recognize the momentous thing that we’ve done here, not only for our city, but for all the cities that are going to follow in our footsteps.” She added, “Thank you all for acknowledging what we need to do for our future, and not just what’s considered ‘politically possible.’”

City Council member Susan Sanger added, “What [the students] have done is pushed us to commit to develop a set of goals and strategies for how to reduce the negative impacts of climate change and how to mitigate some of the problems we have already created for ourselves, which is a huge undertaking.”

All the St. Louis Park council members applauded the work of the students; many thanked them for their work during the meeting.

The students will continue pressuring the council to do what is necessary to protect their future. They plan to install a public art project this summer to draw more attention to the issue.

Similar student-led efforts are now underway in Chappaqua, N.Y.; Des Moines, Iowa; Edina, Minn.; Urbana, Ill.; Toronto; and Ventura, Calif.