High School Reflection: Becky Chung

I have spent a lot of time over the last couple months reflecting on my growth, the past, and what’s to come, both publically on blog posts and speaking engagements and privately in the mountains and forests. Graduation (and knowing that a fairly huge life transition is coming in a few months) has that power.

2016 has been, so far, the best year of my life. I started the year in the Antarctic, found myself in the Himalayas in the middle of the year, am a part of the US Youth delegation to COP22, the UN Climate Conference, in Morocco this November, and will end 2015 and start 2016 in Tanzania on the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa.

I have been lucky enough to follow my passions and gain the skills I need to make my dreams come true. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge where it all started and where I became the environmentalist, person, student, and even mountaineer I am today – the iMatter Youth Council.

In a climate movement that is often geared very specifically for college students and graduates, iMatter became my home and helped me understand the climate movement and what my role as a high school student could be. I was a confused 14 year old when I first joined iMatter, but I found a community of young people, some much younger than I was, making a huge impact in their cities and the movement for the protection of our planet.

The first event in my life in which I first identified as an environmentalist was a museum event, in which I ran a booth representing iMatter (shown in the picture above). The first time I spoke in public was as an iMatter leader, in front of a crowd of roughly 8 people. The first conference call I ever had was an iMatter Youth Council call. The first blog post I ever wrote was a response to a report by Dr. James Hansen on the iMatter blog. One of the most transformative moments in my life was the People’s Climate March, which I was able to attend with the iMatter team.

It is probably impossible for me to fully convey the impact iMatter has had on my growth and my future. I didn’t even realize the impact iMatter has had until I sat down about 10 months ago and started to work on my college applications. My decision to study Environment, Economics, and Politics can be contributed to the many adventures I’ve had over the years across the world but can be traced back to my beginnings as a timid freshman in high school, who wanted to go to medical school but decided to fill out an application for the iMatter Youth Council one day.

It’s been 4 years since I joined iMatter. I’ve graduated now, but the iMatter team knows they couldn’t get rid of me even if they wanted to. To have been a part of a team that has provided incredible support, lots of laughter, and an amazing community, I feel immense gratitude.

Here’s to an indescribable high school career with iMatter and a future of fighting for climate justice in our campaigns, speeches, and actions. Onward!

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