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Young activists call for action on climate change at Colorado Springs conference

By: Chhun Sun
July 16, 2017 Updated: July 16, 2017 at 9:24 pm
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photo - About a dozen children and teens ranging in age from 11 to 17 and their parents attended the Kids Climate Conference on Saturday at Penrose Library (Photo via 350 Colorado Springs Facebook page)
About a dozen children and teens ranging in age from 11 to 17 and their parents attended the Kids Climate Conference on Saturday at Penrose Library (Photo via 350 Colorado Springs Facebook page) 

The young activists had a message for their peers and elders: Climate change is real, and they intend to do something about it.

"We have solutions," said Haven Coleman, a sixth-grader at Banning Lewis Preparatory Academy who has spoken at local rallies and town halls.

"We have to get the government to take action. We have maybe three to five years before it can't be reversed."

About a dozen children and teens ranging in age from 11 to 17 and their parents attended the Kids Climate Conference on Saturday at Penrose Library, which aimed to educate participants about climate change and its effects on the planet through presentations by kids, games and activities.

The kids also worked on an art project - called What Do You Want Your City to look like? - that will be presented Wednesday to the Colorado Springs City Council.

Haven was one of three speakers who talked about some of the noticeable effects of higher temperatures, such as how rising sea levels, renewable energy and becoming activists at their schools.

"Adults say we are the future," Haven said. "Why can't we do something now? Why do you have to wait?"

Haven spoke at a protest last month, shortly after President Donald Trump announced that he would abandon the Paris climate agreement, which seeks to limit carbon emissions that scientists have linked to climate change.

Her activism continued at a climate change conference for adults last month.

She approached organizer Amy Gray, with 350 Colorado Springs, a grass-roots global organization promoting sustainable solutions to the climate crisis, and suggested organizing a similar conference for kids.

Gray was in.

"We're going to have to hand over the torch at some point to save the planet," Gray said.

"We're educating the next generation about the dangers of climate change and what's going on for them and what will happen in their lifetime, so that they can stop it. A couple of these kids might get sparked by what they hear by what the older kids are talking about."

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