The International Congress of Youth Voices—an annual gathering of young activists and writers ages 16-22—is converting outrage over climate change into boots-on-the-ground action.
The organization was created last year because founder Dave Eggers believes teens can speak with a moral clarity and directness that’s “desperately rare in our elected leaders, and perhaps in the adult species as a whole.”
Nearly 100 delegates from 26 countries—all young writers and activists, ages 16 to 22—assembled at the first San Francisco conference. One of the delegates, 15-year old Puerto Rican Salvador Goomez-Colon, created a nonprofit to assist his country after Hurricane Maria.
This year’s conference is in Puerto Rico, the island whose young people ousted governor Ricardo Rossello in a defiant march. The overwhelming topic now is climate change.
“I am growing up in a world whose life systems are unraveling,” says Jamie Margolin. “In ten years I’ll be 28. My life will just be beginning when the world is ending.”
For youth who are growing up with the prospect of a “climate apocalypse,” there is no option other than to act now to provoke change on a global scale.