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Anaum Allimulla

Newark Charter School

Youth Climate Action 


With the cursor of my mouse hovering over the “Leave Meeting” button, my thoughts turn to reflection on the past nine months. Once I hit the button, the screen goes dark, and I stare back at myself on the black screen, thinking about the presentation I just saw—a presentation that was the culmination of all the work we had done this year. The hours of planning and discussing and writing recommendations for the NCC@2050 plan led to the Planning Board meeting where it was presented to the group of members that would decide on implementation. What left me in awe the most wasn’t just the brilliant presentation of my co-writers, but it was also the fact that they listened. They listened, and more than that, they heard us. 

After seeing a board full of adults look genuinely invested in the work that we, kids, had done to write recommendations for environmental policy in the county, I truly understood that the youth voice is the unique key to progress; we just have to learn the ways and avenues in which to use that voice. 

Historically, young people have always been at the forefront of social movements, advocating for change and driving progress forward, fueled by arguably the single most impactful emotion: passion. The youthful passion and energy inspires others in ways that are unachievable by others. Passion is a motivation, a dream, an action, a desire. But, it is most significantly, when applied correctly, a connector. A connector and a bridge between all that fosters the community and collective action that is necessary to make tangible change. 

In the case of environmental justice, youth activists are uniquely positioned to raise awareness about the urgent need to address environmental issues and the impact they have on communities as a result of their perspectives and experiences, ones that are not held by any other. The next generation, the leaders of tomorrow, can help shape policies and solutions that place emphasis on long-term benefits through the use of their passion and the multitude of skills that they specifically possess. 

With the new age of growing technological consumption and digitization, one of the most prominent mediums of reform emerges in social media. Social media has played a transformative role in driving environmental change by providing a platform for people to share information, raise awareness, and mobilize action. Through social media, individuals and organizations can connect and collaborate across the globe to amplify their voices and advocate for environmental causes. Social media has also facilitated the rise of citizen journalism, allowing for the documentation and dissemination of environmental issues that might otherwise go unnoticed or unaddressed. By harnessing the power of social media, environmental activists have been able to pressure governments and corporations to take action on issues such as climate change, deforestation, and pollution. The impact of social media on environmental change is still unfolding, but it is clear that it has become a critical tool for empowering individuals and driving collective action toward a more sustainable future, one that has been paved by the youth. Social media is just one of the new, innovative tactics of change, with so many more on the rise. 

It is no secret that our world is dying. The environmental state of the Earth is deteriorating at an alarming rate, and the consequences of this degradation are becoming increasingly evident. From rising temperatures to extreme weather events, polluted air and water, shrinking biodiversity, and deforestation, the planet is facing a multifaceted crisis. This environmental degradation is not just an ecological issue but a humanitarian one as well. It poses a threat to human health, food security, and overall well-being, especially for vulnerable communities. Urgent action is needed to halt and reverse this trend, but it requires a global effort and collective responsibility. The time to act is now before it’s too late, and we need to work together to safeguard our planet for ourselves and future generations. 

Yet, to so many, the task seems too great, causing them to deter from taking action. And this is where the problem lies. So many are blind to the influence of individual action, not realizing that even a ripple or a small dent in the larger goal is still impactful. This is something that the younger generation is increasingly realizing, and subsequently, spreading to others our age—the idea that each person, despite age, possesses some way to add to the collective action for change. 

Whether it be through raising awareness on social media to writing about it, as I am, to speaking about it to others, or organizing bigger-scale events, we are capable. The youth voice is capable of forcing people to listen and fight for change. The passion that is rooted so deep within all of us can serve to define the ways in which we fight. My passion for writing and policy has led me here and to places where I have the opportunity to work on environmental policy. Similarly, the passions of other kids, from art to science, can be harnessed to incorporate some aspect of environmental advocacy. We simply must learn to listen to this passion and use it as a guide. And when this happens, people will listen; they will hear. 

The cold, hard truth is that despite the fact that past generations are responsible for the Earth reaching this point of deterioration, it is we who have to continue to live in this world. Thus, it becomes our responsibility to ensure that we are the end of the negative cycle and that we are also the start of effective and real change. We are not only tasked with ensuring the health and safety of all who reside on our planet, but we are also tasked with ensuring that a planet even remains for those who come after us. Though the actions being taken now to mitigate this issue are helping, innovative and unique ideas are required to continue progress, ideas that can only be generated from the distinct experiences and passions of the younger generation. 

The first step, however, is to look within ourselves. There is an imminent need for us to turn to our passions and identify the skill set that can be applied to this fight. I chose the pen; I choose to write and use my words to enact change. Change is only a matter of finding what we choose to fight with. 


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