When Iris Hsiang founded the Youth Organizing Coalition it wasn’t a one-off. The Essex High School Junior says she’s been fighting for years for change in Vermont's climate and environment. 

“Since I was young I’ve been fighting the climate crisis. When asked to consider why I do this work, I often reply, ‘because I don’t have a choice,'” says Hsiang. 

Hsiang has organized protests, crafted and advocated for policies and planted trees. Most recently she has been appointed as youth member of the Vermont Climate Council and founded the Youth Organizing Coalition.  

The latest event, the “Youth Climate Justice Summit” will be held online from 6-8 tonight and is designed to refocus and reinvigorate the Youth Climate Movement in Vermont.

Vermonters from all over can register to receive the zoom link here

Here are three aims for the event: 

1. Learn about past climate actions

There will be multiple presentations by people who have been doing work on ongoing projects. Hsiang says the aim is to contextualize and inspire climate action. 

“Here in Vermont, we are already seeing an alarming prevalence of tick-borne illnesses, volatile freeze-thaw cycles, and damaging increases in rainfall and flooding year after year. We must recognize that climate change is here, now. We must also use our actions to honor those who live this crisis every day and are currently fighting rising sea levels, droughts, famines and falling life expectancies.,” she says. 

2. Connect with others and ongoing climate actions:

The event will bring updates on ongoing climate action and how to get involved with it. 

“Our success depends on you and on all of us. Creating the broad, revolutionary change we need will require a broad coalition. And we’ll need participation and investment from as many people as possible.

3. Help plan a path for climate justice

Hsiang says the effort is meant to work together to plan climate action for the coming year and put together goals to leverage collective power. 

“We want youth organizations to join us so that we can effectively mobilize youth voice by connecting existing work and collaborating on new work. Every social justice is connected. We must strive to understand this and address the root causes of injustice or else we risk marginalizing others in our advocacy,” she says.

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