Seeds of Sustainability Planted with Youth As Longmont Marks Earth Day
The kids of Boulder County may be the next leaders in the fight against climate change.
Over 200 people gathered at the Longmont Museum to celebrate Earth Day on Saturday afternoon. Sustainable Resilient Longmont, an all-volunteer group focused on sustainability, organized the event with special attention to youth education. Organizers incorporated storytelling, magic shows, and a musical performance to engage all their younger attendees.
The Longmont Earth Day Celebration brought attention to the impacts of climate change and the ways in which people can contribute to the movement.
Abby Driscoll, a co-organizer of the event, has been involved with SRL for over a year. She stated that her committee intentionally planned more events catered to children.
“Youths are our future,” Driscoll said. “All the people who are involved care about their kids’ future.”
The celebration’s events kicked off with an Earth and nature storytime led by librarian Amy Fontenot. Fontenot has been hosting the storytelling event during the annual celebration for the last two years. She said she tries to use the event to highlight current issues.
One of the stories she read detailed how a badger’s obsession with tidying up contributes to the destruction of the forest. When Fontenot asked why one of the kids were sad, they said, “because there’s nothing,” referring to the clearing of the forests.
“I feel that it’s very important to incorporate love and understanding of things bigger than humans,” Fontenot said.
Alliance for Climate Education, a non-profit dedicated in educating youths on the importance of sustainability, held a discussion focused on the people affected by climate change and how to take action.
Lily Trienens, a representative for ACE, said that the non-profit has educated about two million youths with a goal to encourage a million more this year.
ACE focuses on key states that aren’t as educated on climate change or promote anti-climate change rhetoric. Trienens said that they’re “seeking not only to educate, but to elevate.”
“We really see the power of young people to have a meaningful impact,” Trienens said. “It really is the young people that will have the present and future to educate.”
Shaunna McGrath, a mother of two from Lafayette, said that she tries to educate her kids as much as possible. She said that she’s taught them about composting and non-wasteful eating.
Organizers ended the event with a live performance by Jeff and Paige, a kid-friendly music duo with ecological and environmentally charged lyrics. McGrath credited the performers as being most influential on her kids. “My older daughter is 9. She definitely learns from their songs,” McGrath said.
The event missed no opportunities to engage kids in lessons on sustainability. Kids participating in the activities weren’t shy in sharing what they knew about the environment.
“We protect things that we love. I think children innately have this love,” Fontenot said.