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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland

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Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland
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Registered: December 2019
City/Town/Province: chicago
Posts: 1
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I come from the south side of Chicago, specifically the West Englewood area. My neighborhood is known for two things: violence and poverty. Throughout high school, I have tried to be a role model for my community and to challenge this perception. I want to show my community that anyone can be successful, regardless of your zip code. I have consistently used my voice throughout high school to empower my community and my peers at Bogan. This past summer I was chosen from over 900 students to attend a program called "Students on Ice", where I had the opportunity to go on an expedition to the polar region of the world. The program would focus on educating me, and the 200 other selected students from around the country, on how global climate change impacts the world and our own communities. I was nervous because this was my first time leaving the country. I was more excited, though, because the only end to my own poverty is going after opportunities. I would spend two weeks living on a boat, traveling from Greenland to Northern Canada. When I arrived in Greenland, I was in awe at my new surroundings. There were icebergs as big as skyscrapers and grass that was as cushy as pillows! On my first day, I participated in a workshop where I learned how to fish for the first time. I caught 6 arctic char and felt so on top of the world that it was only my first day, but I had already learned how to do something new. I spent the next two weeks attending workshops that focused on how climate change affects the Intuit population, hiking through areas of the Arctic, and working with other students to make videos about climate change (one of which was shown at the United Nations conference this fall!). During the two weeks, I witnessed more than 30 icebergs falling apart. These were the moments I realized that global warming is something serious. I learned about how the icebergs falling caused a rise in sea levels, which are affecting the indigenous people that live in these regions, such as the Inuit people. I was one of the few Black students on my trip. I was grateful to have gotten a sponsorship, but I knew it was on me to use what I learned to help my community when I got back home. After a few weeks returning from the expedition, I chose to attend a climate change rally with GoodKidsMadCity in downtown Chicago and to speak to the press about how climate change is a real problem to urban communities in Chicago. At the rally, I spoke about how Black people have higher rates of exposure to pollution. We suffer 30% more than white people, with more Black children suffering from asthma. There is also research that states there is a direct connection between the rise in violence in communities stricken with poverty and pollution. I posed these questions to the crowd of protesters and news media: "Why should we suffer from environmental racism? Why do our communities have to have higher rates of preventable diseases? Why do our communities get neglected when tragedies like Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Maria, and Hurricane Dorian, which recently devastated the Bahamas, hit us hard? Climate change is real and it's hurting Black and Brown people now!" Raising my voice and speaking loudly at the rally gave me reassurance that everyone was going to hear the problem and think about it in one way or another. That day, I hope I encouraged others to take action and to think more seriously about climate change, especially about how it affects communities of color. In college, I want to be able to access the support and resources to continue to be a change agent for not only Chicago but for the world. At my school, I am a leader of my gardening club and we pant many flowers and plants in our school garden. I promote this club throughout the school to have many of my peers to get outside and start planting!
Date: December 17, 2019 Views: 4270 File size: 10.7kb, 3626.0kb : 4096 x 2725
Hours Volunteered: 60
Volunteers: 12
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 16 & 17 to 30
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