As rising temperatures create intense summer heat, environmental activists are in the midst of it trying to make a difference. When the school was closed, high school students in Indiana mobilized to join the fight against climate change.
Brebeuf senior Maggie Gonzalez was no exception. While on leave from her summer job, she was on the front lines, attending parades and protests to spread the word through Confront the Climate Crisis, of which she is a vital member.
“In October 2020, I was a member of the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council of Indianapolis and a board member knew the people who started Confront the Climate Crisis. They messaged our GroupMe like, “Hey, we’ve got a kickoff meeting about this new campaign we’re launching. Anyone can register if they want, ”Gonzalez said.
The rest is history. Nine months after joining, meeting three times a week with his colleagues, Gonzalez and the group grew closer and decided to expand their activism by spending a week together in Washington, DC.
“We met with Mike Braun, Senator Todd Young’s staff and Representative Jim Baird,” Gonzalez said. “We were talking to them about the environment in Indiana in general and how they can get involved with climate change in Indiana. Our group is presenting a bill in the 2022 legislative session, so we were just talking to them and getting feedback. “
Gonzalez and his fellow Confront the Climate Crisis members spent a little more time just enjoying each other’s company while in the nation’s capital.
“We only met three lawmakers so most of the time was spent having fun. It was unbelievable. We went to a baseball game and we went kayaking on the Potomac River, ”Gonzalez said.
As the team looks to the future, their next most important goal is to push Indiana to declare a climate emergency.
“As a larger society, I think companies need to focus on this because they are huge and really involved in creating climate change. With the new IPCC report, if we continue as we are, then it will be really bad 20 or 30 years from now, ”Gonzalez said.
As the summer ends and high school environmentalists get back into the mix, the fight doesn’t end. Gonzalez, in addition to being a member of Confront the Climate Crisis, is part of the Brébeuf Conservation Club. She plans to raise awareness by increasing the responsibility of students vis-à-vis the planet.
“One thing we noticed was that there weren’t a lot of recycling bins in the school, and with all the plastic packaging everyone had to use for COVID security, there were just had a lot that was thrown away and a lot of stuff was recycled that wasn’t meant to be recycled, ”Gonzalez said.
“We’re going to try to do a program where people adopt a recycling bin. They have to clean it up and put it in the larger recycling bins outside. We hope this will increase the liability. “
Even when big changes are not made to mitigate the effects of climate change, students like Maggie Gonzalez continue to wage an uphill battle for the good of the world.