This is a guest post by Khushali Upadhyay
Khushali is a 17 year-old senior in high school from New Jersey. She is active in the climate movement in her local community as a leader of the “Rutherford Green Team.” She was trained by former Vice President Al Gore as a Presenter for The Climate Project and is part of the Inconvenient Youth Advisory Board.
Last fall, I attended a concert and environmental expo in New Jersey. Long time activist, folk singer Pete Seeger attended, along with Rep. Steve Rothman (NJ-9) who also participated. At the environmental expo, there were booths from organizations that are related to the wetlands such as the Hackensack River Keeper, the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, Audubon, and the organization that I am affiliated with, the Rutherford Green Team.
Over 1000 people showed up to participate in this convention. For my part, I gave presentations at the Green Team booth. The booths were mostly focused on the ecological consequences of climate change. There were also a few environmentalists by profession in the audience and it was very interesting to hear about their work in relation to the issue.
I think the reason my presentations were successful was that I was one of the youngest people there. When people see youth taking action for a cause, it gives them hope or even inspiration. I felt that people were actually willing to listen to me because of my age. When comparing this to my previous presentations which weren’t affiliated with a specific event or organization, I think this one was better because it wasn’t “preaching to the choir” as much. Some people I spoke to were there only for the concert and did not really care about climate change. If I was able to teach them something new or make them more aware of the issue, I think my goal was met.
Keep up the great work Khushali!