The Student News Site of Elkhart High School

The PENNANT Online

The Student News Site of Elkhart High School

The PENNANT Online

The Student News Site of Elkhart High School

The PENNANT Online

Continuing The Cycle

The Time to Act is NOW!
Continuing The Cycle

In July of 2023, NASA announced that the global temperature of Earth had reached an all-time high. Ever since the Industrial Revolution, humans have become increasingly reliant on burning fossil fuels. An increase in carbon in the atmosphere has created a chemical imbalance. The carbon cycle has been sped up, leading to critical problems like global warming and ocean acidification. 

I believe that all life is interconnected–whether that be human, animal, or plant life. We all have something to contribute to each other. To me, there is a key cycle of give-and-take between us, but there has been a terrible imbalance that has resulted in the climate crisis. Therefore, teens, politicians, and environmentalists alike must work together to protect the future of the planet and restore balance to the cycle. 

To do my part, I joined the Youth Environmental Press Team in my sophomore year. The press team is composed of student writers dedicated to sustainability, teen advocacy, and climate policy from all over the state of Indiana.

For my first article, I covered the 2022 Confront the Climate Crisis event at the Indiana statehouse where I saw teens lobbying for a senate bill hearing. Teen advocates, Rahul Durai and Ashlyn Walker led an effort to create sustainable legislation for the state. It was the first time I had seen someone my age taking direct action…and it felt empowering. I was in awe of the students, senators, and environmentalists who came together for the common good of the State and the Earth. 

I remember telling my family that being able to see teenagers and students speak out at such a high level was the most inspiring thing I had ever seen–which is why I believe it is so important for youth to have platforms to speak out about the climate crisis. After all, the youth of today are the future leaders of tomorrow, and there is no better time to take action than now. 

By showing me that my voice would be taken seriously, Durai and Walker showed me that making an impact as an advocate was possible for me–and I became insistent on taking action.

I began laying the framework for a Climate Recovery Resolution in my community. The primary goal of the Elkhart resolution is to create a climate action plan, establish a youth environmental council, and instill a sustainability commission., thereby ensuring a healthier, more sustainable future for the city. 

This process began in January of 2022 but took effect in January of 2023, when I finished crafting my team. 

 For the past year, I have been working with my peers trying to revise and perfect this resolution. We have met weekly with Paul Steury, an eco-consultant and former congressional candidate, who has helped guide us along the way. Additionally, we have met with local government officials, concerned community members, and environmental heads from Elkhart, South Bend, and Goshen to receive their input. Throughout the process, I have learned about the interconnectivity of politics and the economy in relation to sustainability and it has inspired me to pursue a degree in these fields. 

Although we have not passed the resolution, we are continuously working on the project at this time. 

I am continually grateful for all of the support that I have gained for this project, and if all goes according to plan, my team will present and pass the resolution with the city council by the end of April 2024. 

Through my work in the Youth Environmental Press Team and the Climate Recovery Resolution, I gained a wide variety of connections, and my voice began to echo throughout the state of Indiana. 

Eventually, I was invited to speak on a panel at Earth Charter Indiana’s Climate Leadership Summit to talk about my experiences working on the resolution with different city council members and students. After the panel, a girl my age approached me and called my work inspiring— and I was grateful… 

The cycle continued. 

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About the Contributor
Elena Krueper
Elena Krueper, Managing Editor and News Editor
Elena is a senior this year and has been a reporter for The Pennant since August of 2021. She has a deep passion for all things biology-related and she hopes to use her writing to spread awareness about the climate crisis, teach others about sustainability, and encourage teen activism. Elena hopes that by recognizing the failures of the past, the youth of today will be able to create a more sustainable future for generations to come. Outside of reporting, Elena strives to make climate-friendly changes in her community through her school’s club, Society for a Better Earth, as well as by dedicating her time to a Climate Recovery Resolution. When she’s not writing, Elena enjoys hiking, playing guitar, and spending time with her dogs.

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