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Marin Voice: Finding hope, empowerment among teens working for climate change

Marin Voice: Finding hope, empowerment among teens working for climate change

A statement by noted essayist and climate activist Rebecca Solnit, shared with me in a private correspondence, underlies the spirit of this column.

“People feel despair around climate chaos because they often have assumptions that we are doomed, no one’s doing anything and it’s too late to do anything,” Solnit wrote.

“None of those are true. Hope is partly an orientation, and a commitment, but it can be encouraged by connecting to those doing something and to news about the remarkable things being done.”

Solnit’s perspective is echoed in Jane Goodall’s recent book, “Hope,” in which she describes hope as a necessary precursor to action.

I’m aware of the climate change anxiety and feeling of impotence many people are experiencing. The best way of dealing with this is through positive action. The best gift we can give our teens is to teach them to become effective climate change activists.

Exploring how to help teachers, kids and parents move to empowerment and action is inspiring. I’m excited by how many people and organizations are working for change. That so many of these people are women, mostly young, has been interesting and inspiring. This extends beyond the impact of Greta Thunberg, an icon of the movement.

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that these young activists are the best hope we have for effective political action. That so much is already taking place in Marin is hopeful. Much of it is either youth driven or at least includes many young leaders.

The School of Environmental Leadership at Terra Linda High School is the flagship environmentally focused educational program in Marin. Ray McClintock is the lead teacher and Harita Kalvai is one of the primary student leaders. Student member Kaitlynn Fetterman-Riggle wrote a Marin Voice column focused on climate change action last year.


A statement by noted essayist and climate activist Rebecca Solnit, shared with me in a private correspondence, underlies the spirit of this column. “People feel despair around climate chaos because…
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