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Youth Perspectives

Youth Perspective: How this teen was inspired to join the climate movement

01 Nov 2018

Source: Yale Climate Connections.

Before Iris Fen Gillingham became a climate advocate, she witnessed the ruin of her family’s farm.

Iris Fen Gillingham

Iris Fen Gillingham: ‘As young people, it’s in our own best interest to be involved and take action.’ (Photo credit: Jill C. Smith Photography)

Iris Fen Gillingham was raised in the Catskill Mountains of New York. At an early age, she experienced the hardships extreme weather can cause.

Gillingham: “When I was six years old, my family was forced to stop farming for a living due to floods. In the span of five years, we had two 100-year floods and one 500-year flood. And when the 500-year flood hit our field, it washed away all of our topsoil and put all of our equipment under water. It was devastating for my family.”

Today, Gillingham is a college student. She says it’s especially important for young people to demand that elected officials act on climate.

Gillingham: “Every decision that is being made today is going to have an impact on our lives. So as young people, it’s in our own best interest to be involved and take action.”

As part of a group called Zero Hour, she helped organize a lobby day and youth climate march in Washington, D.C., last July. She says it was inspiring, and her peers want to keep the momentum going.

Gillingham: “We are going to continue to fight for our future, for our lives, and for our communities.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

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