Gretchen Jacobs, YVSC Intern | July 29, 2021

Hi, my name is Gretchen Jacobs, and I am one of the YVSC summer interns. My project is focused on including and empowering youth in Routt County to become more involved in climate action. Currently, there are 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10-24 years worldwide, the largest amount of youth in human history. Climate change will create a drastically different environment for these younger generations when compared to their parents. Not only will there be heightened environmental changes but also heightened social instability due to increased natural disasters. As many of you know, in Routt County, we are already feeling the effects of climate change, through greater wildfire activity and increased wildfire severity, record-breaking summer temperatures, and ongoing severe drought conditions. 

There is a strong basis for youth involvement locally. The Steamboat Springs Chapter of Fridays for Future strikes are a clear indication that students in Routt County care and are passionate about climate change. Headed by Emi Cooper, the strikes have been a success with much of the community coming together. Fridays for Future is an international youth-led movement originally started by Greta Thunberg in 2018. It is just one of the many student-led organizations and movements working to hold government leaders accountable for taking action in our changing climate.

As an intern, my role this summer is to empower the next generation to make changes through heightened communication and connection to YVSC. I am excited to announce the launch of the ‘YVSC Next-Generation Newsletter’. This newsletter is specifically focused on providing info tailored to high school and college students about how they can use their resources and voice to make a change. The content includes various sustainability tips, info about upcoming events, and educational materials, such as books, podcasts, and news articles to learn more about climate change and sustainability.

I have also noticed a push in the community to do more youth-focused outreach, and YVSC wants to take part in that. We see a great opportunity for a sustainability-focused youth program called “Rising Leaders in Sustainability with YVSC.” My final focus has been on providing career support for students interested in sustainability. YVSC is planning to host our first-ever Careers and Leadership in Sustainability event on August 31st from 4-6 p.m. at Colorado Mountain College. In conjunction with local partners who work within the environmental and sustainability fields, we will expose students to the many different opportunities and career pathways within our fields. These various parts of my project as an intern have been immensely exciting to work on. 

I encourage you to look into the important work that youth are doing in climate action around the world and especially in our community. It is important to support youth and give them the platform and opportunity to do impactful work. Encourage youth and young adults in your life to get involved. Small actions that you or your children can start with are volunteering with YVSC and other local organizations on sustainability projects, learning more about sustainability, and finally, subscribing to the ‘YVSC Next Generation Newsletter’.