Clayton, from Vancouver, WA, attended YEA Camp Oregon in 2010 and 2011, where he inspired all of us with his passion for environmental protection.
Since camp, Clayton has spoken out publicly multiple times to advocate for sustainability. This fall, Clayton gave a moving speech at 350.org‘s Moving Planet Day of Action event, where he talked about the importance of youth getting involved in environmental activism.
The fact that we are not all making huge changes to prevent these disasters [floods, storms, droughts, and other “natural disasters” caused by climate change] from happening shocks me. It seems like most people are completely apathetic to this very real threat. The fact that oil companies and governments are still blocking measures to limit greenhouse gases and approving things like the Keystone Pipeline in order to make short-term profits is ridiculous. My peers and I are the ones who will have to live with these problems long after the adults making these decisions are gone. Instead of looking forward to the promise of my future, I’m worried that I will be trying to clean up a mess that most adults aren’t willing to deal with. I am worried that I won’t even have a future.
Clayton also attended a community hearing when the Department of Environmental Quality in Oregon was hearing comments about shutting down eastern Oregon’s Boardman Coal Plant.
Clayton is currently finishing high school at a community college, where he is participating in the campus’s sustainability process. He is eager to join the Citizens Climate Lobby to advocate for political solutions for climate change.
One thing we encourage at YEA Camp is for participants to seize opportunities to get the word out about issues that are important to them while doing things they were going to do anyway, and Clayton is great at this. He turned a class paper he was assigned to write into an opportunity to deepen his own knowledge of alternative energy and to educate his teacher and classmates when he chose to wrote about alternatives to coal and oil.
Clayton is also vegan, and he sees his daily food choices as another powerful way that he can take a stand for environmental sustainability each day.
We are thrilled to have gotten to know Clayton so well over the past two summers, and are inspired by the role model and effective activist he has become.