I have always been passionate about political advocacy and the environment. That’s why I was excited to join Defend Our Future as an intern last fall. Over the course of just one semester, I gained a great deal of experience on the front lines of climate action. Not only was I able to participate in an issue-based campaign through canvassing, phone banking, and meeting with congressional staff members, I also learned how climate change is currently impacting people on a local level, as opposed to being a distant problem for the future.
A central ethos for me is that no issue exists in a vacuum–everything affects everything else, whether we see it or not. Because of this, I tended to focus my attention on issues where I could see obvious connections, like social justice and criminal justice reform. But climate change, while important, seemed abstract and disconnected from other issues.
However, through my time with Defend Our Future, I saw that this couldn't be further from the truth. We should not only defend the environment for the sake of the planet itself, but also because our efforts have major ramifications for innumerable communities, particularly those that are already vulnerable.
Climate change is real, and it is up to us to fight to protect local and federal environmental safeguards, for our future, for our present, and for those who are most vulnerable to its consequences. Our generation represents what could perhaps be humanity's last chance to turn the tide of climate change, and we must take action while we still can.
I encourage anyone who is passionate about this issue and wants to help solve one of the greatest challenges of our time, to apply to intern with Defend Our Future at action.defendourfuture.org/internships.
Justin Remelius is a freshman at Arizona State University.