Youth Speak Out on Climate!
Thursday, May 22, 2008, 7 p.m.
Cary Library
Lexington, Massachusetts

What are young activists thinking when they look at their globally warmed world?

What are they doing about it?

What do they want YOU to do about it?

Join us and a panel of young adults, aged 16 - 28, for a discussion of this generation's perspective on today's most urgent issue.

Thursday, May 22, 2008 at 7 p.m.
Meeting Room
Cary Memorial Library
Lexington Center

All are welcome!

Co-sponsored by the Lexington Global Warming Action Coalition and the Center for Democracy and the Constitution.

Please download flyer here.

For more information, call (781) 674-2339.

Speaker Bios and Comments

My name is Vicky, I was born in Norwood, MA, in 1990 (making me currently 17). When my sister, Laini, was born in 1992, we moved to an apartment in Hyde Park. My family made our latest move in 1995 to suburban Millis because my parents knew it as a safe town to go to school.

I attended the Clyde F. Brown elementary school in Millis, and joined the Spanish Immersion program in first grade. We were taught everything in Spanish, and didn't receive proper English grammar lessons until the third grade. I continued with the program until seventh grade, when I wanted to take history classes in English rather than Spanish.

My parents separated when I was nine, and it was very informal. Life was better after it. However, because of my dad's alcoholism and suspected drug abuse, he got a cirrhosis of the liver and two forms of Hepatitis. After a long struggle with his illnesses, he passed away in January of 2007.

My statement on global warming: I believe it's the consequence of hundreds of years of ignorant technological development, and I feel like if we as humans had the logical brains to create that development, then we can use our brains to reverse the damage we've done.

Ralf, 28 years old, Dutch. MSc in Applied Physics from Eindhoven University of Technology (NL), PhD in Physics from UCL (UK). Came to the US at the end of 2007 to work as a postdoctoral researcher at MIT, focused on understanding high-temperature superconductivity with new techniques. High temperature superconductor carry the promise of transporting power through our power lines without losses, thereby greatly reducing our energy needs.

Perspective on Climate Change: Climate change will be one of the defining challenges of the 21st century, and it is different from anything we have experienced in the past because the damage it causes will largely be irreversible. Species that go extinct will never come back, and the carrying capacity of the earth is diminishing every year we don't get serious about combating climate change. For me personally, it not only means that I make certain lifestyle choices that reduce my environmental footprint, but also that I actively work on creating more awareness about the problems we face and the direction our society needs to go in to achieve long-term sustainability.

Laini was born in Norwood on February 3rd, 1992. She is the youngest in her family, and has one older sister. She attended Millis schools for her elementary and middle school years, because that is her hometown. Although her parents separated when she was ten years old, she kept in touch with her father while still living with her mother and sister. During her freshmen year of high school, Laini's father passed away due to cirrhosis caused by alcoholism. She has always been opposed to drug abuse.

At sixteen years old, Laini is now in her sophomore year at Millis High. Laini is currently very involved in her hometown, because she enjoys working at her local library, filming town meetings at her internship with the local cable access TV studio, and organizing with the townĘs Youth Commission. Her hobbies include reading, biking, sewing, and playing her drums and harmonica. Since her passions include helping others, education, and activism, by default Laini is looking forward to becoming a teacher.

And here's my statement on global warming: I believe humanity cannot fully reverse the effects of global warming, but something can always be done to make any problem better, and as long as there are people who are willing to fight back against the real criminals, then global warming does not have to impose on the planet all of the the devastating predicted effects.

Erin is a community activist whose main concentrations include animal liberation, prison abolition, and radical education, and uses a queer working class framework for her analysis of social systems. While organizing around climate change, she focuses on the mental health and disaster preparedness of her communities, and the extreme pressure to be the generation that is most likely to be the folks responsible for both their children and their parents during climate disasters.

Andrew: I'm a twenty-four year old beginning small farmer, harvesting vegetables, fruits, nuts, herbs and maple syrup. I take the total destruction of the world pretty personally, and I see global warming/climate change as just one symptom of a completely rotten system that can't be reformed. I believe that environmental devastation and social oppression are inseparable. I expect to spend the rest of my life adapting to changing conditions and trying to figure out what the hell I'm doing. It's an honor to live at a pivotal time in history and have the choice to halt and reverse some of the damage our culture has done.

Andrea, 23 - Received her BA in the area of Advanced Fine Arts in May of 2008 from Westfield State College in Westfield, MA also receiving the Arno Maris Academic Achievement Scholarship Award. Adding to her strong devotion to art and as an up and coming artist, Andrea is committed to creating the opportunity for her peers and many others to gain awarness of issues within environmental and social justice on a daily basis. Andrea has been involved with Massachusetts Power Shift (MAPS), a youth-led coalition spanning across Massachusetts, formerly known as Mass Youth Climate Action (MYCA), since November of 2007. Although her time within the climate movement has been significantly less than her other fellow environmentalists, Andrea hit the ground running after engaging in many actions, state and nationwide. Her devotion and involvement has enabled her placement in many leadership roles while on her campus at WSC as well as across the state. Her current roles are as follows but the list continues to grow: MAPS Steering Committee Member, MAPS Media Liaison, MYCA Steering Committee Member, Westfield State College Sustainability Committee Representative. She played an intricate role within Massachusetts Power Shift this past April 11-14, 2008, a state-wide conference focused on climate solutions, green jobs and green justice held at Boston University and the Boston Convention Center. In addition to the growing list of responsibilities and credentials, Andrea has accepted and will begin as a Frontline Representative this May of '08 with GREENPEACE working on their Global Warming campaign. Abandoning all previous post-grad plans, Andrea has committed herself to being an influential agent of change speaking primarily on behalf of the youth generation, and will continue to fight for justice as long as change is needed.

"Climate is invisible and transparent to the common eye, leading to the majority of society forgetting its true value and thus leading to the unfortunate exploitation of said climate that we see around the globe today. Western culture, more specifically the US, conveys through collective action throughout day to day activity that the planet is essentially disposable. Climate makes everything possible, even enabling us to partake in the superficial luxuries that are contributors to this crisis. For the vast majority of my life, I too was focused on the destination deemed 'success' and neglected to broaden my views and perspective allowing me to see what is currently in front of me. Society and mass media/messaging teaches us from day one to concentrate and desire everything we don't have rather than simply appreciating that which we already posses. The obvious but too often misunderstood beauty before our eyes is greatly underrated. If we are lucky enough, and the true value or understanding is ever reached, it is often times too late for many of us to enjoy. Preoccupation with the unimportant materialistic things in life leads us to the inability to bask in these pleasures, however, late is almost always better than never having experienced it at all. I have gained such gratitude for obtaining this awareness and at such an early age in terms of the bigger picture. Coming from a place of such ignorance and neglect for the planet, as well as the fact that hindsight is always 20/20, I am fortunate enough to have acquired values that are so sadly, few and far between. If the extreme transition and shift of values that occured is possible for me, it is most definitely possible for anyone to experience it. This manifestation of my mission in life was sparked from all of these thoughts, and will continue to allow me to effectively communicate (and hopefully provoke) the understanding to others, throughout my journey called life."

Henrik: I am a senior at Lexington High School and I will be attending Wesleyan University next fall. I hope to study economics, biology, and foreign languages in college as well as continue to be an activist against global warming.

My views on climate change are simply that the average citizen must make personal sacrifices in order to turn the tide against global warming. Governments around the world aren't going to act any time soon so it is up to us to change our habits and show our leaders what we want for the future of this planet.
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