The late Fred Rogers spoke of his mother’s advice in times of great need: “Look for the helpers. There’s always someone who is trying to help.” There is a fundamental problem with the modern approach to environmental issues and I have tried my best to become ‘one of the helpers.’ My initial jump into my major, Public Affairs, was informed on the basis of helping others through broad policy-based change. I understand the impact of regulation and how it can change the landscape of environmental health.
I joined Defend Our Future with the knowledge of their reputation as leaders in civic engagement surrounding climate policy. I wanted to immerse myself in this world so that I, too, could make a difference and encourage young people to get informed and vote. Interning for Defend Our Future gave me that opportunity.
My favorite memory with the organization was during the week leading up to the 2018 Midterm Election. The atmosphere in the room was that of excitement. We saw the potential for the country to make a concerted effort to elect officials who care about the environment, especially after having personally engaged with hundreds of students over the semester. We knew that young people were the future of engagement and political change and it was invigorating.
My time with the organization gave me a renewed sense of political efficacy and, although I feel like a huge dork for saying it, it makes me feel a tiny bit of hope for the future.
Tom Miller is a senior at The Ohio State University.