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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

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Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
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CarterHCR7



Registered: December 2018
City/Town/Province: Logan
Posts: 1
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I was four years old when I became a communist. I had been lost in thought when I suddenly perked up - I had it! If money caused so much conflict, why not stop using it? Proud to have fixed the world's problems, I began planning my utopian society.


By elementary school, I had outgrown my communist phase, but my passion for researching, debating, and learning about public policy was stronger than ever. One issue in particular stood out to me: climate change. The wealth of scientific analysis, magnitude of impacts, and political polarization around the phenomenon drew me in. I read news articles, watched documentaries, and pored over National Geographics. When I was in third grade, Utah's legislature, to my dismay, passed a resolution denouncing climate change as a global conspiracy. Thus began my environmentalism.


In high school, I quickly gravitated toward the environmental service club, LEAF (short for "Logan Environmental Action Force"). I threw myself into trail clean-ups, group hikes, community service projects, and made some great friends. It was not long before I found a way to inject my love of politics into the club's activities. Logan ranked among the US cities with the worst air quality. I began attending city council meetings, and our club wrote a resolution proposing a "50 percent renewable energy by 2030" goal. I knew it was a long shot given our city's conservative leanings, but I networked with others in the community and rallied support for the resolution. When we introduced it, dozens of supporters came to the meeting, I spoke in favor of the resolution, and the council surprised us by passing it enthusiastically. A range of policies encouraging clean energy and alternative transportation have followed, although there is still work to be done.


Bolstered by our local progress, I began working to expand the club's initiatives, setting my sights on the state legislature. The resolution denying climate change was still in place, and I felt that before progress could be made our leaders needed to find common ground on the climate issue. So our club began writing a second resolution recognizing climate change, its impacts on our state, and our responsibility to address it.


If passing our city council resolution had been a long shot, this seemed a moonshot. However, we pushed on, writing testimony and speaking at the resolution's committee hearing. It received a 5-5 vote, failing to even reach the House floor.


I was not ready to accept defeat. Over the next year, I reached out to students across the state, met with representatives, spoke at town hall meetings, organized a youth-led environmental summit with lawmakers, and revised the resolution based on bipartisan feedback. By the next legislative session, I felt ready. I spent hours crafting my testimony, and once again spoke at the committee hearings. This time, our resolution passed both the House and Senate.


Later that spring, I stood next to the governor as he signed our resolution into law, making Utah the first red state to officially recognize climate change. Soon our story hit local papers, then spread to national outlets like CNN and The Hill, even capturing the attention of prominent figures like Bernie Sanders.


Despite all the excitement, my work is far from over. The resolution was an important step, but it needs to be followed by concrete legislative action. I spent the summer as an intern for the Sierra Club, where I researched policies, coordinated with political campaigns, learned from experts, and improved my community organization skills. Additionally, I am working to develop a network of environmentally-minded students from across the state, and, as the incoming LEAF president, I hope to cultivate Utah's youth activism and bring it to bear on environmental policy. From writing legislation protecting public lands to promoting a state carbon tax, I am working to expand my environmental work, both this year and for decades to come.
Date: December 28, 2018 Views: 613 File size: 15.6kb, 79.8kb : 780 x 438
Hours Volunteered: 80
Volunteers: 15
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 18 & 18 to 60
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