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Park City Teens Work For Climate Action

Three Park City High School students spend every Friday afternoon, carpooling to the weekly Fridays For Future at the Utah state capitol to protest against the lack of action on the climate crisis. 

Park City High School students Tess Carson, Emma Cook, and Nina Seraffin share in the duties as Co-President of the school’s Climate Action Club. They say about 15 students join them twice a month to do what they can to combat the climate crisis.

The three have also committed to drive to the state capitol every  Friday afternoon to participate in the weekly movement, #FridaysForFuture, sparked by 15 year old Greta Thunberg who sat in front of the Swedish parliament every school day for three weeks to protest against the lack of action on the climate crisis.  Then, in September, the young Swede decided to continue striking every Friday until her government’s policies fell in line with the Paris Agreement. Her efforts have grown into a worldwide movement and now thousands of students and adults are protesting outside of their local city halls, national parliaments and government offices every Friday.

Last week, Tess volunteered to be one of the speakers at the event. She says her speech was a direct message to Governor Gary Herbert, who wasn't on hand to accept the thousands of postcards collected by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance asking him to protect the state’s wild lands and not lease them to the oil and gas companies for drilling and extraction.

“We were trying to deliver them to him, but we got notice yesterday that he won’t be able to take them,” Tess said. “I wrote a speech and we’re going to be talking about, like, Governor, like it’s your last year, just please take action.”

Last summer, the three high school students attended the Utah Environmental Summit Camp – where they learned how to get more involved and take on climate action in their local community. They started the high school club in October. Right now, they’re focusing the meetings on educating club members about the issues.

Emma says they understand that the oil and gas industry provides the livelihood of thousands of Utah families and they recognize the need to make that transition as painless as possible for a healthier industry.

“Our goal isn’t to take people out of jobs, ever,” Enna said. “So, it’s just like about educating and helping these folks find new careers in renewable energy because people will still need to work within our energy and so it’s just making that transfer from unsustainable to renewable. And so, it’s also about connecting with these employers and employees and just finding a way to educate and to help find a path to help everyone and not just leave some people  out of this movement, but really help benefit everyone.

They encourage others to join them – meeting on the south steps of the Utah State Capitol every Friday at 2 o’clock.

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