anuradhanaik anuradhanaik, September 5, 2018
#1 Introduction – December 2017

My name is Sonia Zinkin-Meyers, and I’m twelve years old. I’ll be the writer of this column, along with some of my schoolmates and friends. My column will be focusing on how those with less power-kids like myself as well as adults-can get involved in environmental advocacy and make a big impact. Along the way, I’ll be sharing my own story: the events and projects that I am participating in. For this very first column, I’ll share how I got to where I am right now, and hopefully show everyone how easy and rewarding it is to get involved with the climate change movement.

I first became conscious of the effects of climate change at sleepaway camp in 2016. That summer, there was a long, devastating drought all across New England. The river had slowed to a trickle, and the lake had lost over two feet of water. I brought it up one day, while walking with a counselor and some friends. My counselor said to us, “You should get used to this. This drought is caused by global warming, and it’s too late to do anything about it.” What she said stuck in my head for a long time. It made me really upset, and after a while I decided to do something about it. I was determined to prove her wrong.

At school, I was given the opportunity to learn more about climate change and ways to combat it. We started a project called Kids For a Cause, where everyone in the class got to pick a topic they cared about and write a series of essays on that. I chose a carbon tax, because it was something brand new to me that was directly related to the issue most important to me: climate change. One thing our teacher emphasized was including a call to action in our essays- a couple sentences on how the reader could get involved in that issue. I read about  in a classmate’s essay, and I decided to take my interest in carbon tax a step further. I went home and started a petition on for a New York State carbon tax. You can sign it here. It took me half an hour to write it and send it out to everyone I knew. In the meantime, I had been scouring the internet for petitions to sign, organizations to get involved in. In my searches, I came across 350NYC.

When everyone I knew had signed the petition and sent it to friends, I had to think of other ways to get the word out. I emailed Lyna at 350NYC, asking if they would put my petition on their website or social media. Lyna generously agreed, and also invited me to one of the monthly meetings, where I spoke about my petition. After that, 350NYC was able to inform me and connect to many other opportunities. I appeared in a promotional video for the People’s Climate March and spoke at Next Generation Now, a rally for child activists. I, along with Ajani Stella, another activist, was also interviewed at the New York Society for Ethical Culture. There I expressed my interest in being an environmental journalist, and this column will allow me to do that while spreading my message and hopefully encourage everyone reading this to be an activist too.

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