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Beginning on October 11, members of the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition gathered in Barbourville, Kentucky at Union College for KSEC’s Fall Summit. Sadie Lawrence, a participant this year from duPont Manual High School in Louisville, had this to say about the summit:
For me, KSEC spaces always feel like I’m going back to a second home. The spaces are safe, inclusive, welcoming, friendly, and full of food, laughter, and good conversations. I almost never miss a summit just for those reasons. But a couple of other exciting also drew me to the 2019 Fall Summit.
This year’s summit theme was Transforming Climate Grief Into Climate Action. The first training we received was about Radical Imagination, and I was so grateful to be reminded of how much creativity and the arts connect to activism. They both seek to change and improve the world around them, require talent and teamwork, and can be incredibly powerful. It's why the two so easily intertwine. It was a great way to then apply radical imagination to our ideas for the next strategic plan. It was really exciting to be able to collectively brainstorm what KSEC could be doing in the next 2 years. We have so much potential to grow and mobilize as the youth climate movement gets stronger.
Finally, the last part of the summit I could stay for was the training on turning climate grief into action. This is by far one of my favorite KSEC trainings. I finally learned how to define all of the feelings that come from living in a world where my future has literally been cut short by decisions made before I was even born. I realized all of these feelings that had been swirling around in me were part of the stages of grief. I was remembering how hopeless the climate crisis made me feel.
But at the same time, I realized I wasn’t alone in this struggle. I realized my reactions were normal and understandable, and that people, especially indigenous peoples, have been experiencing this time of grief for centuries. And I remembered that there were people out there, young people like me employing revolutionary optimism and and radical imagination to combat climate grief. And most importantly, I was able to recognize that the climate crisis is here, but so are we.
We’re glad to have hosted Sadie and the rest of our participants this year, and we look forward to seeing everyone again at Spring Summit 2020 in Bowling Green! Details will be coming soon, so stay up to date with us on our social media pages and in our newsletter.