Lessons from Utah's Student-Led Climate Resolution
From left to right: Piper Christian, Genesis Wardle, Kiyan Banuri, Josh Velazquez, Keely Toledo, and Kai Torrens at the Utah People's Climate March on April 29th, 2017. Photo Courtesy of: Chris Detrick, The Salt Lake Tribune
Thousands of feet marched the streets of Salt Lake City. The spring air was filled with the electricity of protest, voices rising in unison with songs of climate justice. The Utah People’s Climate March was a sight to behold. Leading procession was a group of high school students with a 12-foot banner of Utah’s first ever Climate Change Resolution gripped in their fists. I was one of those students. Delivering this resolution to the Governor’s Mansion was the culmination of the march-- and a journey spanning two continents and nearly two years.
In December of 2015, as a high school sophomore, I had the opportunity to attend the U.N. Climate Conference in Paris. While most people saw the climate talks as diplomatic meetings between world leaders, there were thousands of other participants: artists, scientists, indigenous leaders, and more. I made it my mission to gather the stories of these people. I learned that ordinary people have the capacity to create extraordinary change in their communities. We all have unique skill sets and perspectives to contribute to the climate movement, and when each of us takes action at the local level, our collective impacts can have a global reach.
With this inspiration, I returned to Utah. I spoke with my hi