Oak Park River Forest senior, Kate Wallace, shares her climate story.

Tell a story about an experience that made you aware of climate change/inspired you to be a part of climate activism. 

I became aware of climate change through my classes at school and by watching the news, and I decided I wanted to get involved. One experience that has inspired me is being a part of the enviro club at school, because even though the work we do is small, seeing small changes being implemented makes me feel hopeful.

What is your experience of climate change?

While I haven’t experienced drastic changes, I have seen weather changes such as worsened air qualities and fluctuating temperatures.

What does a better world look like to you?

For one, a better world would be run on sustainable energy. Sustainable energy is a big area of interest to me because I want to become a mechanical engineer working in that industry. As both an engineer and an advocate I hope to work to improve and implement renewable energy sources.

How does going to COP play a role in your climate activism journey? 

I think that going to COP is going to largely expand my understanding of the climate battle and will empower me to be a stronger advocate locally when I return.

What do you hope to gain from attending COP?

I have only worked on a local level, and am really only knowledgeable about local problems and local solutions. Upon attending COP, I hope to gain a broader view on the issues facing people from across the world, and the solutions they are taking. I am very excited to talk to people from different backgrounds from me and learn how we can support them from where we are.

What do you want world leaders to know?

That this problem is not going away and there are myriad young people who care about the issue, so change is inevitable.