Massachusetts youth 'no longer willing to stand for Band-Aid solutions' to climate change
I was 11 years old when I helped organize my very first youth climate summit. Because I grew up on my family’s farm, the effects of climate change have always been incredibly difficult to ignore. From season-long droughts to record-breaking rainfall, I have witnessed the extremes of our changing climate firsthand.
For example, in 2021 we got 16 inches of rain in June and July. That was more rainfall in the first two months of the growing season than we usually get throughout the entire year. Experiences such as this have instilled in me an understanding that we need to act now.
I got involved in that first climate summit as a result of joining Mass Audubon’s student-led Youth Climate Leadership Program. It was at that event that I realized I was not alone and that my need to make a change within my community was something that I hold in common with many other young people.
Instead of shrinking down into feelings of fear or immobility, young people are stepping up and advocating for our right to a livable future.
Youth activists from across the state are coming together to engage in an ongoing discussion about justice and creativity. We are working to provide a platform for youth leaders to raise our voices and empower one another.
This has reminded me why I wanted to become an activist in the first place — because young people have the power to encourage people to think bigger and prioritize systemic sustainability.
Young people all across the world are no longer willing to stand for our leaders' inadequate response to this crisis. We are no longer willing to stand for Band-Aid solutions and we are demanding real change now.
If you are a young person looking to find a way to make an impact, I encourage you to speak up and add your voice to the climate conversation.
Ollie Perrault is 16 years old and lives in Easthampton, Massachusetts.