Generation Z has often been deemed the generation of action and activism. Yet, in the midst of the climate crisis, Generation Z is also facing immense levels of anxiety about the state of the planet.
On April 20th, There’s More partnered with the Environmental Integration Lab to present a collection of stories around the theme “Generation (Re)Generation: Transforming Climate Anxiety Into Action”. This theme was crafted to acknowledge the fears that come with climate change and transform them into effective solutions.
Chase Kendrenah, a first-year student who works with USD’s Office of Sustainability, kicked off the night with her story titled “How Curious Questions Can Cure Climate Change”. She discusses that as a member of Generation Z, older generations often tell her that the issue of climate change is “in her hands”. After kickstarting a sustainability group at her high school, Chase learned that to make an impactful change, it is essential to educate past and future generations about sustainability.
The next speaker was the second-year student and Changemaker Hub fellow, Mackenzie Guy. Mackenzie’s story, titled “Saving the Salish Sea 73”, spoke about the pivotal moment of seeing killer whales off the coast of Washington when she was a child. This sighting not only prompted Mackenzie’s interest in conservation, but also the anxieties that come with threatened species. Yet, through her anxieties, Mackenzie has been able to take action through her work in the Climate Alliance and Changemaker Hub at USD.
Lastly, senior Ramona Tellez, an Environmental and Ocean Sciences major and a biology and ethnic studies minor, told her story titled “Out to Sea”. Ramona reflects on the devastating moment where she discovered the Duwamish River, her childhood playground, was polluted. As she grew older and began to learn more about the climate crisis, Ramona faced serious mental health struggles. By connecting with her community and feeling part of the generation of change, Ramona has coped with her anxieties by feeling hopeful for the future.
All three stories share a common theme: managing the climate crisis is a collaborative effort. At times when it can feel like the state of the world is in your hands, it is essential to take a step back to realize that we must work together to create sustainable change.