April Member of the Month: Leah Booher

Written by Leah Booher |

I started my activism in 3rd grade. I had just moved to Southern Florida, and climate change was just starting to impact the community. Slowly over time foreign plants invaded the ecosystem, and native species of animals began to disappear. My mom began to participate in grassroots organizations that focused on the rights of people. Being in middle school and incapable of driving, I became a frequent participant at meetings. In 2010, when I was twelve my mom wrote a Sunday school curriculum on climate change, how it affects us, and what we can do about it. It involved activities like showing how ice caps raise the sea level, showing levels of the atmosphere with balloons, and turning a game of twister into a post-apocalyptic scenario where people did not have enough resources and became twisted into knots to get needed resources. To say the least, it was eye opening.

In 2010, when I was twelve my mom wrote a Sunday school curriculum on climate change, how it affects us, and what we can do about it. It involved activities like showing how ice caps raise the sea level, showing levels of the atmosphere with balloons, and turning a game of twister into a post-apocalyptic scenario where people did not have enough resources and became twisted into knots to get needed resources. To say the least, it was eye opening.

With that curriculum we made a SLAP Pole, which is a fence post covered in stickers that show the effects of climate change in local communities. Let me tell you, when there are people who make products covered in stickers, they deserve respect because it takes lots of patience. We mirrored the SLAP Poles after the iMatter SLAP Poles created in California. Little did I know that the creation of four fence posts covered in stickers would lead to several events a year representing my generation as a youth activist. We would roll up, my mom and I, in a ford Taurus, with a 6 foot pole crammed into the car. One end of the pole with a huge “What will be underwater sign?” sticking out the back seat window was practically impaling me, and the trunk was occupied by a base made of cement. Oddly enough, since then we had a PriusC that fit the pole entirely. To say the least we looked like somewhat of a spectacle, especially when one person carrying it on one shoulder, as the pole only weighs about a pound. Soon I was attending events to raise awareness for local environmental adaptation plans, signing petitions, and becoming a better youth activist. When you can say “Sea Level Awareness Project Pole” in a sentence without breathing you know you have a great sales tool. Over the years I have been a juvenile jack-of-all trade. I have counted ballots for action assemblies on school nights, I have checked off answers from wary representative on flip charts (that you cannot erase, thank you representatives, who say yes and then no a second later), and now am a scribe at local sea level rise meetings. We even developed a craft mini slap pole for kids to take home. Later, I joined the iMatter Youth Council, and have since become an environmentally conscious person, albeit slightly overworked, who is trying to make a difference in the world.

1Comment
  • Kathy Mohr-Almeida, Ph.D.
    Posted at 16:28h, 28 October

    Leah, Anna and I feel your pain! Anna has a dozen kids on her youth council and we have seating in our car for 5. We are going to be cramming a refrigerator box made into a Pepsi vending machine in our back seat of my Kia Optima (hybrid, of course)., should be an adventure!

    We are participating in a conflict palm oil protest campaign and Pepsico is THE major user of conflict palm oil… Anna has “Let’s git ’em” in the forefront of her mind. I am like, uh, okay, if this is what you want to do, I am IN!

    We are sending you and your mom LOTS of love and THANKS for your hard, and at time funny, work. You are a ROCKSTAR, Sis!