Student Meets Role Model, Annie Leonard, at People’s Climate March
by Caroline Hansley
October 3, 2014
Guest Post from Enloe High School senior in Raleigh, North Carolina, Soomin Shin
Marching for Climate Justice Sign? Check. Water bottle? Check. Awesome t-shirt promoting awareness about the Arctic? Check. You can never be too prepared for the largest climate march in history.
Flashback to 2013. I had just discovered Annie Leonards book The Story of Stuff and instantly became captivated by the sheer insightfulness of her message. I knew that environmental destruction and corporate conglomerates infuriated me, but like so many others I was hesitant to take action. How could an inexperienced little high schooler make even a speck of a difference on such a huge issue?
After struggling with myself internally for some time, one day I realized that I couldnt take it anymore. I wasnt going to just sit at home watching on the sidelines as profit-obsessed businesses manipulated individuals and lawmakers into condoning wreaking havoc on the environment. As I researched more into Annie Leonards mission, I discovered that she was the new executive director of this awesome organization called Greenpeace! And Greenpeace had an office fifteen minutes away from my house! I would have been idiotic to not seize the opportunity.
Upon joining Greenwire, I was immediately contacted by the Raleigh Field Organizer, Caroline Hansley, who informed me of all the ways I could help out with Greenpeace. She told me about this huge Climate March in New York City and suggested that I participate in it. Although at first I felt a bit apprehensive to the idea because I had never been in a march, (much less in New York City with hundreds of thousands of other justice-seeking people), I finally decided that I would join. While Caroline went on about how cool it would be when I met Annie Leonard, the individual who triggered my involvement in Greenpeace, I said to myself, Me? Meeting THE Annie Leonard, the EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR GREENPEACE USA? Yeah right…
Imagine my awe when I recognized Annie Leonard ten feet away from me in the marching in the Greenpeace section of the Peoples Climate March. After I watched her greet other staff and volunteers and inspire the crowd for fifteen minutes, with the encouragement of one the the Frontliners from Raleigh, Madhura Desphande(pictured below), I was encouraged to forget my nervousness and go up and and introduce myself to Annie. (Thank you Madhura!) I told her about how she inspired me to volunteer for Greenpeace and how she spurred me to get involved in the environmental movement from the very beginning. It was surreal. To put the cherry on top, I even got to take a picture with Annie Leonard, per Madhuras request!
Even if I only got 3 hours of sleep on the bus ride to Manhattan, after meeting Annie Leonard I was more inspired than ever to fight for environmental justice. I realized that I was not powerless in the face of this issue, but rather an agent of change alongside so many others. Once I came back to Raleigh, I knew that the best way for me to start making a difference was to advocate for solar energy in schools, with the local Greenpeace campaign, in the very community I was already a part of. Change starts with individuals, and no individual is too small or young to make a difference. After this breathtaking experience in the Peoples Climate March in New York I now see that I am one of many fundamental individuals in the global movement for climate justice.
Interested in joining Greenwire? Click here to join the place where people like you connect with other volunteers, activists and groups working on environmental campaigns all across the country? This is your meeting place to start groups, host events, run campaigns, share photos,videos, blogs and join with other interested activists eager to help. Register now!