April 24, 2017

Where does it come from and where does it go? A short story about origins and destinations

Dear Power Shift Network,

I'd like to share a story with you that I've been trying to tell for a long time. It's the story of becoming a human concerned about plants and animals and resources, despite my origins in an enormous city where resources abound.

Only recently did I begin to comprehend the vast history of colonization and extraction that makes my home—New York City—what it is. Urban development and gentrification served as my entry point to understanding capitalism that not only governs cities themselves but every resource that makes them go. Emboldened by this context, I questioned the education I received, and felt obligated to fill this gap. Now, I teach public school students inside and outside, across the city. We tell stories together so that my students are better equipped than I was to question the systems that control the world around them. Although my own explicit focus is on climate justice, this fight is inextricably intertwined with others: economic, racial, gender, justice, among many others. I hope—and have been lucky enough to witness—that these young people feel equipped to join and question these struggles for justice.

My impetus for telling this story is SustainUS's Creative Challenge for the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23). Young people are encouraged to participate in the challenge through publishing creative media about how they fight for climate justice. Those selected for SustainUS's youth delegation will travel to the COP23 this November in Bonn, Germany, to bring their messages and actions to an international stage.