Why do these 300 young Quakers care so much about climate change?
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Climate change isn’t coming. it’s already here.
I came to Washington, DC from Durango, Colorado… Portland, Oregon… Miami, Florida… from Lincoln, Nebraska… to ask Senator Ron Wyden… Representatives Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio… Senators Wedman and Murkley… and ask for a public, bipartisan acknowledgment of the fact that our climate is changing.
Climate Change Affects Us All.
I think many ways when I think about my community in Brooklyn, NY, especially amongst black and brown populations, climate change is super intense, just because of CO2 emissions in the air.
I live right off the water. I get to see that go up. I get to hear about people in my community, in my neighborhood – talking about, “what are we going to do if this rises drastically in the next 20, 30, 40 years?”
We have to do water restrictions, the farmers can only water once every week, maybe once every two weeks.
We have a lot of floods in Miami when it rains and because of high tide, and actually my city’s going to flood and be destroyed.
Looking at what is going on with our planet, the really frustrating element to me is not necessarily that our government moves slowly as it is that we are not acknowledging something that is obviously, scientifically documented to be happening. And there are folks who can’t even use the word “climate change” because it triggers all these issues of dogma and position and posturing.
It’s not a party issue. And politics tear us apart trying to fight with each other, and this is affecting literally every human being and creature on the Earth.
It’s very important to work across the lines and to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and to see the light and God in every other person.
An Issue of Faith
In Genesis, God creates the Earth and commands us to be good stewards of his creation, and I feel that we have not done that.
I think the uniquely Quaker aspect that calls me to care about climate change is a sense of urgency that rises from us. The same that makes John Woolman care about his friends keeping slaves. It’s the same urgency that I feel about people on the other side of the planet not having enough food or my neighbors in the midwest having worse weather.
This is an issue of stewardship. This is an issue of peace. This is an issue of morality. This is an issue of responsibility.
Just the part about love and just saying, “We may disagree, but we can still talk about it. We can still just be humans after it and not have any harsh feelings towards each other.”
I get to be one of the first people in my Meeting who is sponsored to go to a National event. They are fully funding my trip to come here. They are incredibly supportive. Amazingly, wonderfully supportive of me being here. I am going to do a talk the Sunday that I get back and everyone in my Meeting has approached me and said. “We are so excited to hear about what you’re going to do in DC. What your experience was like. We can’t wait to be there for this.” And it blew my mind and it opened my heart and it made me cry. That’s why I get to be here. Because my Meeting cares about this, and because I care about this.
Lobbying with Friends
I am excited and a little bit nervous. It is my first time to go to Congress and to lobby, so… brand new here. But I’m mostly just excited. I think it will be a really good experience.
It was good to actually come here and lobby because when you see lobbying, you think of big money like the Koch brothers, things like that. But citizen lobbying, you don’t really hear about that. So actually getting to do it was a great experience.
I’m really glad that FCNL brought me here along with some of my fellow students to come speak to my members of congress. It makes me feel like I’m actually making a difference in one of the biggest issues that’s facing our country today.
It makes me feel hopeful that so many young people are here talking to the people who are supposed to lead us and represent us. I’ve lobbied with my senators already and they’ve said, “Yeah. We want to hear from our constituents. That’s how we know what to do.” And even if it seems like on paper, they are disagreeing with you, it feels good to hear them say that. That gives me the inspiration to go home and tell my friends, “Let’s write some letters and emails!” They want to hear from us. They need to hear from us. That’s their job.
The views expressed in this video are of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Friends Journal or its collaborators.