My name is Riley Stevenson and I am a junior at Lincoln Academy. Throughout the past year, I have become increasingly worried about climate change and distressed by the lack of action by my elected officials, and have become involved in several groups throughout the state working to project the voices of youth and make meaningful steps toward addressing climate change.
Two groups I have become involved with are Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) and the Maine Youth Environmental Association, both of which allowed me the opportunity to attend CCL’s November Lobby Day in DC.
Lobby Day in DC
My time in DC with CCL profoundly impacted my ideas surrounding advocacy, and I have never felt the level of energy, excitement, and focus as I felt while participating in the events in DC.
Having the opportunity to speak to elected officials and their aides created a sense of empowerment in me as an activist and made me feel as if I was truly making a difference. The structure of the event also made it easy to feel fully prepared for our time on Capitol Hill and provided us with ample opportunities to learn about lobbying and having civil conversations.
Georgia Senator Co-Sponsors
Directly following one of our meetings during our day on the Hill, Georgia Senator Sanford Bishop became a co-sponsor of HR 763, an important and exciting step in making a carbon fee and dividend (federal legislation that levies a steadily rising fee on carbon emitting fuels and returns it to American households in the form of dividends) a reality. Bishop is a moderate Democratic senator from Georgia, and his endorsement of the legislation was a very exciting win for our group.
One of my greatest takeaways from this experience was the power of sharing stories and gratitude. Being able to find common ground and communicate with those who may have differing views from oneself is an important skill in our current political climate, and CCL is a wonderful leader in creating commonalities and teaching others how to do the same.
Riley Stevenson is a Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteer and Coordination Director for Maine Youth Climate Strikes