The Future of Climate Change (Literally!)

By Ananya Singh

When I first attended YEA Camp New York 2015, my passion for social justice, particularly climate justice, was ignited. Since then, I have worked with lots of groups on social issues, and have discovered a passion in climate justice. Recently, I have been getting connected with other student activists interested in this issue.

It was through these connections that I learned about the Climate Legacy Time Capsule Project and decided to organize an action with this group at my local high school at the end of 2017. This national action is centered around young people across the country gathering together to dedicate time capsules with items that represent why we as young people are fighting for climate change and letters to the future.

The Environmental Action Club writing letters for their time capsule

With the help of a few friends, I reached out to my high school’s newly formed Environmental Action Club, and we planned a time capsule letter-writing activity. We gathered materials, put together a meeting agenda, and wrote letters of our own. When it came to the action, we spoke on the background of the action, how climate change will impact us, and what these letters are going to do. Beforehand, I was unsure as to whether everyone present at our meeting for the letter writing would understand the action, or even want to participate, but all my worries were eased once I heard people’s ideas and saw them write their letters. Everyone genuinely shared an appreciation for nature and our world’s beauty, as well as hope for a future that is safe, clean, and beautiful for future generations. Just like I felt when I first heard about the action, they were really intrigued by the time capsules and excited to be a part of it!

The time capsules we made served as a way to send a message to our world leaders, who were at at the Bonn UN Climate Conference in November 2017. The capsules will be opened in 50 years, 2068, thus giving myself and other student activists a chance to reflect on our hopes and visions for the future world in the context of climate change. The biggest question being asked, to ourselves, to each other, and to our politicians and decision-makers was: How will we be remembered by future generations?

Some of the letters written at Ananya’s school by teen activists

Personally, it is my greatest and most sincere hope that they will look back and see us as the people who really stood up and came together to take action against climate change. At the same time, the very serious and looming threats of global crisis create the potential for a much more bleak and dangerous future world. I am certainly fearful for that future, but I know that I’m not alone in these feelings. So many incredible students and young people have been taking action and really mobilizing to fight these impacts of climate change, and call on our leaders to create change as well! I really wanted to share this message and commit to taking action in my own community– this action came across as a really creative and inspiring way to begin!

One of the letters written for the time capsule project.

At the end, I collected 40 letters and sent them to the time capsule in Philadelphia. Our action wasn’t anything elaborate or locally impactful, but our voices are now a part of the larger movement, and we got to connect with each other as people that really care about climate change and have a foundation for future actions!

Of course, this was not a singular effort! I got a lot of support from the Sierra Student Coalition’s Climate Justice League, where I learned so much about climate justice and community organizing! Three of my friends have also been learning and working with me. Also, through this action, I’ve gotten the chance to work with imatter youth, and connect with other amazing student activists and find even more community and support! I am planning to go forward with all this support that I have found at my area, and continue to organize for climate change.

Ananya Singh is a sophomore at Morris County School of Technology, in New Jersey, where she studies visual and performing arts. She is an activist for environmental and social justice, and attended YEA Camp New York 2015, Massachusetts 2017, and is a YEA Camp Blog Manager!

Do you care about making a difference in the world, like Ananya does, or know someone who might? YEA Camp is for youth 12-17 who want help getting more involved, and we are now offering a summer camp for adults too! Come join us or let us know if you have questions!