, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN
The Minnesota Youth Environmental Network recently hosted the First Annual Spring Gathering, bringing youth leaders from across the state together to connect, learn new skills, and share stories about the work our generation is doing to create a sustainable future.
“We must create new organizational structures to meet our needs,” stated Erick Boustead, who set the tone for the day during his keynote address. “The systems in place will limit us.”
Boustead encouraged young Minnesotans to change the way we talk about the environment. Looking at the current ecological crisis and causes thereof, we must work to change the dominant narrative to make progress. We need to stop “talking about the environment like it is separate from ourselves. The environment is us. It is everything we see, feel, and hear.”
This connection explains why environmental and social justice issues need to be addressed as symptoms of the same failing systems. Environment, race, class, and gender inequalities should not be compartmentalized and dealt with as separate issues, rather we need to take an interdisciplinary approach as we build a sustainable and just future together.
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