29 Mar Team in Minnesota Presents the First Youth Climate Report Card
With about 12 campaigns in the works so far, last Monday the Roots and Shoots team in St. Louis Park, Minnesota presented the Youth Climate Report Card to their city council.
The team adopted the iMatterNow campaign late last year to gain leverage and start a conversation regarding climate action in their community. Using the Youth Climate Report Card, they gave St Louis Park a B-. The team also pushed for a Climate Inheritance Resolution, aimed at changing city tactics toward battling for climate justice not only with words, but with real action. They grabbed attention as they did it, especially from members of the city council.
Mayor Jake Spano told the StarTribune that “I think we do good work, but we can do more and we can do better.” The city council acknowledged their shortcomings in terms of climate action, especially in regard to carbon emissions, after the students brought these problems to the center of attention.
The message that climate action is of the utmost importance is never so powerful as when it’s voiced by youth – because with the youth voice comes reality, the blatant truth that “the future” is our future, and that it’s necessary for the leaders of today to consider the next generation. When paired with such a powerful tool as the Report Card, city leaders are hit with the fact that they need to step up and take more powerful action in regard to climate justice.
Spano told the team that the Report Card reminded him of his own childhood, receiving similar results to those he used to get, “along the lines of ‘He does a fine job, but he doesn’t apply himself as much as he could.’” Part of why the Report Card is so powerful is because it makes the issue of climate change personal – to youth who are standing up for their own future, but also to leaders, who are given a heavy sense of deja vu when they are faced with something so daunting as a Report Card. When faced with a bad grade, leaders realize that they have to raise their grades, and the youth voice is going to make sure of it.