By Tori Van de Kop August 16, 2018

I am a girl who constantly has her eyes on the ground or up towards the sky, always astounded by the beauty my natural surroundings have to offer. I knew that I wanted to use my voice as a passionate college student to combat the human-induced climate change affecting the natural beauties that I so often admire.

Interning this summer with Defend Our Future at ASU allowed me to help students register to vote, collect pledges to vote, participate in activism rallies, meet with our local and state representatives, and successfully oust an unfit, unethical EPA Administrator.

I was able to travel with Defend Our Future team to Flagstaff, Arizona and canvass at their Pride in the Pines Festival, an event that celebrates the LGBTQ community. I was able to meet new people, celebrate diversity, and spread awareness about the great work we do at Defend. I also participated in the summer “Defend Our Chocolate” event, which included a panel discussion with various chocolate and agricultural experts who explained how our chocolate supply is affected by climate change.

This organization and the measurable impact we’ve made gives me hope that we will be able to experience the earth’s natural beauty for generations to come. That is why I am proud to continue this fight alongside Defend Our Future on behalf of our beautiful environment.

Tori Van de Kop is a Defend Our Future Intern and rising sophomore at Arizona State University.