This is a guest blog by Megan Nguyen, a student at Seaquam Secondary School in Delta BC, who placed second in our Young Reporters for the Environment Program in 2018.
Hey, my name is Megan Nguyen! I’m a high school student who attended the 2018 North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) conference on behalf of Environmental Defence’s Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) program.
Several months ago, I submitted an article to YRE detailing my honest thoughts and ideas about plastic pollution all over the world. I was able to research and learn about the real effects that plastic pollution has on animals and their habitats, as well as on people and their health. In my article, I wrote about the small ways we as individuals and collective communities can make changes to our everyday lives to reduce plastic output. I placed second at the national level, and since then, my fascination with environmental education and climate change has taken on a greater form.
From October 10th-13th, my fellow students and I made our way down from the city of Delta, British Columbia to Spokane, Washington, in the hopes of widening our views and educating ourselves further at the NAAEE conference. There, we were able to meet students, teachers, educators, influencers, and others from all over the world with the same interest in environmental education.
As student reporters, we were lucky enough to not only attend several keynotes, demonstrations, and smaller presentations, but we were also able to speak with many inspiring people from a variety of backgrounds. With these stories, we realized that climate change is looked at differently by everyone. Some people are exposed to it from an early age and it has become a part of their everyday life as well as a normal topic of conversation. For others, climate change is something overlooked or ignored. After hearing these stories about the different ways climate change is treated around the world, we were inspired to cast it in a different light for the people in our school and community.
Inspiration does not come easily. But for me, it was impossible to not feel inspired by the diversity, passion, and investment people at the conference had in caring for our earth. I was in constant awe of these different stories, different backgrounds and different people all coming together for one unified reason: environmental education. We left the conference with an understanding that in order to inspire action, the need for change must feel urgent but also attainable. This conference transformed the way we looked at environmental education, and hopefully we will be able to do the same for those in our community with what we learned.
Want to learn more about getting involved with Young Reporters for the Environment? Visit www.youngreporters.ca.