This article is part of our Youth Voices series. At Ten Strands we believe that young people have valuable perspectives and a critical role in shaping our society and our world. We recognize their power to drive dialogue and create positive change and are committed to providing a platform which amplifies their contributions.
Discover UC Davis student Garret Roth’s inspiring journey as a young climate leader whose passion for environmentalism and biochemistry led him to intern with Ten Strands. In this engaging Q&A, Garret shares his experiences and insights on the critical role of youth climate advocacy for addressing the pressing issues of our time.
What does it mean to be a youth climate leader, and why is it important?
In the face of an ever-growing climate crisis, a climate leader can identify both a problem and a solution that they continuously fight for. These leaders go above and beyond to educate and advocate—fixing issues, no matter how small, that they feel passionate about. Together, leaders are addressing climate issues that impact communities globally. Together, leaders are dedicated to the pursuit of climate justice, protecting the planet and its biodiversity. These leaders are necessary to shape the policies that dictate the lives of future generations in the climate movement.
What was your experience during your internship with Ten Strands?
With a focus on climate justice, primarily in a school setting, the Ten Strands internship beautifully encapsulated the joy of advocating for a cause not many people consider. The path of consolidating existing resources to create meaningful arguments is difficult but very rewarding. My internship motivated me to expand my perspective on climate justice. It didn’t take long before I found myself researching topics independently, finding my resources, and looking into the vast effects of climate change. This experience provided a valuable lesson in persistence, problem-solving, and adaptational skills that are crucial for this field.
In what ways do you hope your internship made an impact?
I hope that the data I provided can create a compelling argument for action. Beyond spreading awareness, I hope the data can bridge the gap between California counties and bring a sense of cooperation in climate justice. Further, I hope that my internship can inspire other students to become involved in making their community a better place. Fixing climate change is a difficult task to face alone, but the work that you can contribute will strengthen the ever-growing community of climate leaders.
Do you plan on pursuing environmentalism as a career?
I have always felt a strong urge to act for the sake of my community. Ever since the wildfires threatened the lives of many families, I have contacted state representatives, published research, and advocated in my school. I started planting native plants in my free time, hoping to restore the protections that native plants provide against future wildfires. Although my future career may not be in environmentalism, I have joined several lobbying communities that I can contribute to in the future. I hope to continue my love of environmentalism in college and continue to donate my time upholding the values of climate justice later in life.
What advice would you give to young and aspiring climate leaders?
Do not let your age scare you from taking action. Your perspective is valued and necessary to make a difference. You have the power to make change and inspire others to do so. Most importantly, remember that progress is both internal and external. Your efforts should align with your mental health. It is easy to feel overwhelmed, but you are supported by a community to continue fighting. Stay hopeful.