An upcoming camp for teenagers presents an opportunity for kids to get involved in climate change justice. The Next Generation Climate Action Camp, hosted by the Civil Liberties Defense Center, is aimed at empowering youth to make change in their communities, according to Amber Mongan, associate director of CLDC. “We wanted to provide the sort of action camps that are available to adults, but specify it for teenagers,” Mongan says. “Public schools don’t cover this kind of stuff, so we want to fill that need.”
Lauren Regan, executive director at CLDC, said that after years of teaching Know Your Rights campaigns for adults, there were always some teens who wanted to partake as well.
The camp hosts workshops on oppression, ethics, individual trainings and histories of political movements. Two other organizations that are partnering with CLDC for the event, Ruckus Society and Backbone Campaign, will provide arts and crafts like screen-printing and banner-making, as well as events like hiking and an evening talent show. Mongan says there will also be a mock “action,” including adults who will role play as police officers, bystanders and reporters for the camp participants to interact with.
“The climate justice camp is not just environmental, it is immigrant rights, worker rights, racism, LGBT; all of those can be folded under the umbrella of climate justice because unless you deal with all of those systemic issues, you’ll never be able to stop climate change,” Regan says. “So part of the training will be about how to interact between movements.”
Youth action on climate change issues has been a hot topic lately and the Eugene City Council passed an ordinance July 28 to lock in preexisting goals of reducing fossil fuel consumption and carbon outputs. According to national group Our Children’s Trust, the ordinance is “the first in the country to require carbon neutrality, fossil fuel-use reductions and the development of a carbon budget based on the best available science.”
The student-led campaign to develop and pass the ordinance was a result of OCT’s Eugene-based Youth Climate Action Now (YouCAN). The ordinance seeks to create a carbon-neutral city government by 2020 and to cut resident use of fossil fuel by 50 percent by 2030. It also calls for a Comprehensive Climate Recovery Plan to guide the city and keep it on track for its goals.
“We hope to assist in producing amazing activists that will not only do work such as we saw with the ordinance, but ones that will continue to be even more effective in addressing climate change for their own future’s sake,” Regan says. According to Mongan, registration for the camp will stay open up until the night before on their website, cldc.org. Regan says that no one will be turned away due to lack of funds, since they have a scholarship reserve for those who need it.
Next Generation Climate Justice Action Camp runs Aug. 15-17. Registration is online at cldc.org and scholarships available. For more information call 687-9180.