From powerful hurricanes to extreme heat waves, today’s youth are the first generation to feel the impacts of climate change.
Three high school students in Rochester led a community-wide discussion at Century High School Sunday afternoon, aiming to empower local residents to engage in local climate change solutions.
"This is gonna be our problem in the future as well so it’s better to learn about it now and get involved, then having to learn about it later on, and start doing change right now," said Alina Hyder, Sophomore at Century High School.
The students hosted this event in collaboration with Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy and its Youth Convening Minnesota project, a non-profit focused on climate change.
"Youth are really growing up with solutions that older generations, we’re are just coming into knowledge about," said Jothsna Harris, public engagement manager at Climate Generation. "Resource management, and recycling, and renewable energy, they’re young enough to grow up with these things and being aware of them, and they really have an understanding of this issue."
Representatives from Rochester City Council, Rochester Community Technical College, Mayo Clinic participated, and local residents participated.
"It’s really great to see their community respond to the invitation to be here today. It’s really an inter-generational conversation that makes it rich. The youth are really in the most powerful positions to lead those conversations."
"Adults like to see that young people care about these things, and if the youth care about it, then all generations should care about it," said Zaria Romero, Junior at Century High School.
For Mahamud Hussein, a junior at Rochester STEM Academy, and one of the three students who led the event, it’s important for him to educate about the dangers of fossil fuels to the environment and renewable energy options.
Attendees learned the basics of climate change, listened to community members share their experience with climate change, attended a resource fair and participated in solutions workshops.