Sorting waste.
Sorting waste.

At the start of the 2018-2019 school year, Climate Generation’s Youth Environmental Activists of MN brought together teens from 29 Minnesota schools for the Youth Climate Kickoff.

With the goal of connecting youth for learning and planning collective climate action across the state, the Kickoff was organized to offer community-building, hands-on activities, and collaborative planning.

Individual and Collective Action Activities

Students paint a banner in the orange color of the MN Can’t Wait coalition.
Students paint a banner in the orange color of the MN Can’t Wait coalition.

Hosted at Central High School (thanks Central Roots & Shoots Club!), students led almost all the activities of the day. Members of the YEA! MN Core facilitated games to break the ice and honored that the Kickoff was taking place on occupied land of the Dakota indigenous people.  Workshops about recruitment and retention, building a healthy organizational culture, and how to engage in the effort to stop the Line 3 oil pipeline provided students with different ways to plug into local climate action and organizing.

Youth painted banners to prepare for the upcoming rally and march — Our Future, Our Right: Youth March for a Fossil-Free Future on October 28, with help from the MN350 art team.

Students discuss outreach tactics.
Students discuss outreach tactics.

YEA! MN leaders organized a group discussion about collective action. View their presentation here. YEA! MN students are part of a coalition called MN Can’t Wait, calling for a just, fossil-free Minnesota and pushing for this through legislative, judicial, and executive action. Read students explain the need for a clean energy future and their projects in action in their op-ed in The Star Tribune.

Pledging to Take Action

At the end of the day, youth committed to taking action.

They planned how to recruit their peers at school to attend the Our Future, Our Right march. They committed to start composting programs at their schools, to get their message out on social media and in the press, and to get the attention of public officials.

Of 41 students surveyed:

40 committed to talk with their friends about climate change,
37 committed to talk with their family, and
27 committed to talk with elected officials.