Ten Strands Intern Li Platz on Her Internship Experience

By Li Platz|August 17, 2023

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.

What does it mean to be a youth climate leader, and why is it important?

Climate change is the greatest threat to humanity and our planet. Young people across the globe recognize we can’t just continue as if nothing’s wrong. We’re experiencing the effects of global emissions largely emitted by a small percentage of the world’s population. Being a youth climate leader is about using your voice and taking a stand for your future in whatever ways resonate—whether that’s activism, writing, art, scientific research, policy, education, or something else you’re passionate about. As a young person who wants to live on a thriving Earth, it’s important to me that youth develop, lead, and implement solutions.

What was your experience during your internship with Williams College?

My experience interning at Ten Strands with support from the Williams College Center for Environmental Studies has been incredibly rewarding both personally and professionally. I was able to work with leaders in environmental education and learn about how environmental policy and action interact in California’s public school system. As an intern, my supervisors and coworkers genuinely sought and valued my input—something that doesn’t always happen in the internship world! I also felt supported by the Ten Strands team despite being remote. If you have access to funding or other resources, I can’t recommend Ten Strands enough.

In what ways do you hope your internship made an impact?

I know fellow Williams intern Skyla and I worked hard to make the California Youth Climate Policy (CYCP) Leadership Program a reality. We helped the team with everything from admissions and curriculum development to logo design and guest speaker coordination. I hope our work will encourage and inspire youth climate leaders in the program, giving them the confidence to take space, ask for help, and claim their power.

Do you plan on pursuing environmentalism as a career?

I entered Williams planning to declare the environmental studies major, and I was able to finish all of my degree-specific courses by fall of junior year. As a senior, I’m interested in exploring social and philosophical aspects of environmentalism through writing and visual storytelling. How can we encourage people to care not only for the environment but for each other? I’ve definitely thought about a career focusing on environmental communications or advocacy, but I’m also open to seeing where life takes me.

What advice would you give to young and aspiring climate leaders?

My biggest piece of advice for young and aspiring climate leaders is to keep going. Your voice matters. The path to a healthy, resilient future isn’t easy, but if you can build and lean on networks of support, it’s possible to create real change.

Li Platz
This article was written by Li Platz

Li Platz is a senior at Williams College, majoring in environmental studies. Li is passionate about science communications, expanding equitable access to the outdoors, and climate education. She enjoys creative nonfiction storytelling and believes in the power of narrative to spur people to action. Her writing and photographs for the Nature Conservancy in New Hampshire have been circulated nationally. Li is inspired daily by the beauty of the Berkshires and the wild landscapes of her home state, Wyoming. Outside of school and work, Li spends her time hiking, biking, drawing, and cooking meals with friends.