Q&A with Shannon Anderson, Assistant Director of Earth Charter Indiana
What is Earth Charter Indiana’s involvement in youth climate change advocacy?
“(Earth Charter Indiana) has a belief that working with young people has been both joyful and necessary in doing climate work, and empowering and connecting young people to the right rooms, the right opportunities, the right spaces is an important part of our mission. We started hosting climate camp about six years ago, with the goal of taking so many of these kids that we met, who were really passionate about climate change, didn’t know what their role in fighting it was, bringing them together to talk about science to talk about the environment, to talk about civics, and just let them connect with each other and sort of see what came out of it.”
How do the creation of youth-led organizations like Confront the Climate Crisis impact climate action?
“So the more we have a statewide focus, the more we have other young leaders in different places that are getting together and forming their own teams just like you’ve seen with the students in West Lafayette. We have Earthlings in Terre Haute and a Muncie climate crew. These groups are forming all over the state. We are really excited that this year is the first time we’ve seen the kind of self-propelled dialogue between the groups around the state we’ve always hoped for but it’s been really hard to kind of get it off the ground. I think the pandemic has really pushed everyone onto Slack and GroupMe and things like that. People were able to kind of be more siloed before. And so that’s really exciting to watch.”
How will Earth Charter Indiana be involved in the March 19 climate strike?
“There are going to be organizations like us and 350.org there and we’ll all be like firing up our networks, sharing the events and making sure that we can get as many supporters there and online, to take the steps that the Confront the Climate Crisis has asked people to do: signing the petition, sharing it, things like that. So I see ourselves in kind of a supportive role; it’s not our event, but we will treat it like it is our event. We want people to focus on what the demands are and we’ve always been trying to get youth and climate scientists in front of the governor. We’ve tried many different ways (and) we’ve come very close.”
Other than striking, how can people get involved in climate action?
“I always want people to get involved in State Government, even if it’s just you know one phone call a year. Do something, because the state legislature operates in kind of a blind spot for a lot of people who are focused on federal policy which is super important, but a lot of our energy policy, environmental regulatory policy is written here at the statehouse, and they don’t hear from young people nearly often enough. So, that’s my pitch.”0