For the 2020 presidential election, a wave of young adults will enter voting booths for the first time, and they are fired up about climate change. Among them will be Arjun Marwaha, a 17-year-old Anaheim resident and climate-change activist who just released his first book, Our Changing Earth: Why Climate Change Matters to Young People.
The 11th-grader at Fairmont Preparatory Academy argues that debating the issue is important because it stimulates awareness and discussions about climate-change solutions. “If we get lost in the politics, we lose the essence of the movement, and we lose our future along with it,” Marwaha recently told Education Week. “We’re the ones inheriting the Earth. . . . We will be seeing the consequences.”
Climate change also resonates with those who will be too young to vote in the next presidential election. Students at Columbus-Tustin Middle School held their second-annual Climate Solutions Summit on May 14, culminating a school year’s worth of research aimed at finding ways on campus to compost, conserve water, and eliminate—or at least reduce—the use of cardboard and plastic lunch utensils.
The relationship between climate change and beach erosion will be among the topics discussed with 1,350 inland students coming to Kids Ocean Day in Huntington Beach on Tuesday. Besides learning about the environment, the students will participate in a beach cleanup and group photograph. Taken from hundreds of feet above, the image will show the youths gathered to form a whale shape filled with the event’s slogan, “Protect What You Love.”
“This is our biggest Kids Ocean Day yet,” promises Dyana Peña, Coastkeeper’s educational director. “This year’s message of ‘Protect What You Love’ truly speaks to what this event is about. These kids rarely get the chance to interact with these natural spaces, and once they do, they understand why we need to protect them and that they have the power to do so.”
Local (and national) politicians should take note because these kids will one day realize the power they also have in the voting booth.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.