By Lauren Smith
DAVIS â€”Â Last weekend, youth climate activists from Climate Strike Davis hosted â€śCAMP OUTâ€ť in Central Park to demand immediate climate change action. About 50 people attended the event, and five families stayed overnight in Central Park.
Ten year-old animal activist Elise Smithline stated that a camp out was chosen as opposed to a march because it was â€śto get peopleâ€™s attention.â€ť Due to COVID-19, many camping trips were cancelled and national parks closed, so this was an opportunity to not only enjoy camping but to demand climate action as well.
At this camp out, two â€ścouncilsâ€ť gathered to discuss their climate action demands for the City Council, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors and the school district. Some of these demands included low or no emission cars by 2030 and a declaration of climate emergency, which theÂ Yolo County Board of Supervisors announced at last weekâ€™s meeting, making Yolo County the first agricultural community to do so.
Juliette Beck, lifelong climate justice advocate and member of the Yolo Climate Emergency Coalition, stated, â€śThe students and the youth have inspired that action at the county.â€ť
In addition, the councils asked for increased use of locally grown food. Despite the fact that the City of Davis is an agriculture hub, the city also exports many goods, such as almonds to China and imports many goods as well. Beck stated, â€śWe need to convert our farms to produce local food to feed this regionâ€¦We have the solution right here in Yolo County and we need to prioritize those responsible climate practices that are the solutions.â€ť
The youth climate activists also created a report card system in which they grade adult leaders on their responses to the climate emergency. The responses are based on a checklist: accessible to all, affordable, incentivized, normative and the way they empower youth and historically marginalized communities in the design and implementation.
The powerhouses behind this demand for climate action are community youths.
Fourteen year-old climate and animal activist Sarah Larson not only helped spread the word of the CAMP OUT by designing and distributing flyers but also helped convince the school district to install solar panels on four new multipurpose rooms, making 80 percent of the energy clean energy.
Larson, Smithline and her sister all acknowledged the large impact climate change has on marginalized groups such as people of color and the homeless community. These groups are disproportionately affected by the failure to act on climate change. As Beck stated, it is important to advocate for â€śenvironmental justice and the health of everyone, especially vulnerable people.â€ť
Youth activists are currently drafting a letter to the public, elected officials, candidates and City Council about the importance of climate action.Â
Fourteen year old climate activist Grace Smithline stated that many people are unaware of the problem, or they think it is only â€śtemporary.â€ť This letter is meant to â€śinform people about whatâ€™s going on and explain to them the climate crisisâ€ť as well as share different ways to reach zero emissions by 2030.
This letter also acts as a call to action and â€śwake up call.â€ť Grace Smithline stated that it is â€śtime to make a changeâ€¦weâ€™ve begged them to make a change and nothingâ€™s happening so now itâ€™s time they actually do something.â€ť
â€śWeâ€™ve been very patient,â€ť her sister Elise Smithline added.
These youth activists continue to demand climate action and advocate for policy change that will benefit not just humans but the earth and animals as well.
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