#BecauseOfYouth Spotlight: Sarah Goody

#BecauseOfYouth Spotlight: Sarah Goody

The #BecauseofYouth series highlights young environmentalists in MCE’s service area who are leading the fight against climate change. The views, opinions, and beliefs expressed here are not necessarily representative of the views, opinions, and beliefs of MCE as an agency.

Sarah Goody first became aware of the climate crisis in a sixth-grade science class. Now a high schooler, Sarah has empowered young people all around the world to take action against climate change. Sarah is the founder of Climate NOW and the Chair of the Corte Madera Climate Action Committee. In 2020, Sarah received the Princess Diana Award for her work in social action.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m 16 years old and a sophomore at Redwood High School in Larkspur. I’m a youth climate activist and founder of Climate NOW, a youth-led organization that educates young people about climate change. I also work in policy and serve as a board advisor for many organizations, including the Climate Action Committee in Corte Madera.

Why did you decide to found Climate NOW?

When I started learning about climate change, I noticed that most educational resources were aimed toward someone with a master’s degree in environmental science, not a 12- or 13-year-old. I started asking students at my school about climate change and what issues mattered to them. Some classmates didn’t understand what climate change was. I heard from other students that they felt they didn’t have the tools to create change; they’d say: “What can I do as a teenager or child that’s going to make an impact on this global issue?”. I founded Climate NOW to make climate education more accessible to young people.

Out of all the things Climate NOW has achieved thus far, what are you most proud of?

My proudest moments have been in our interactions with students. Since 2019, we’ve worked with over 10,000 young people from 70+ K-12 schools in places like Tanzania, Italy, and of course, in the San Francisco Bay Area. I love going into classrooms and hearing the perspectives of other students. I am proud to see young people across the world coming together to fight climate change.

Can you share a bit about your Broadway Speaks Up project?

When Broadway went dark due to COVID, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to merge my love for theater with my love for the environment and raise awareness about climate change. Throughout the pandemic, I worked with Broadway performers by getting them to send videos about climate change to Broadway Speaks Up. Then I shared their messages on social media. We saw such a great response. So many people have told me that hearing their role model talk about climate change has inspired them to take action.

Why is it important for youth to use their voices to create change?

It’s imperative that young people are represented when it comes to enacting solutions. Young people bring a new sense of creativity and urgency. We don’t have preconceived ideas about what action needs to look like, and we don’t get bogged down by financial constraints or the scale of the problem. Our generation has grown up seeing the impacts of climate change, from wildfires in Northern California to the rising sea level in my own backyard in Corte Madera.

What changes do we need to make to address the climate crisis?

The first thing we need to do is transition to renewable energy and get completely off oil and gas. Our government needs to declare a climate emergency to let people know the threat is urgent and we need to act now.

We must also mandate climate education in our public schools. Many students in the United States don’t have access to adequate climate education. I was talking to a middle schooler from Fort Wayne, Indiana, the other day, and she said she won’t learn about climate change until she’s a sophomore in high school. My hope for the future is that climate education is integrated into every part of the curriculum and that young people are given the chance to dive deeper into social issues.

What advice would you share with someone who thinks that they can’t make a difference in the fight against climate change?

Never underestimate the power that you hold. The first step is just finding your passion. From there, educate yourself and take action. Speaking up is often the hardest part. Youth hold power and we can raise our voices collectively to create change. I think I’m a testament that when you have passion and dedication, you can really change the world.

What’s next for you?

I want to continue to show young people that their voices matter. I hope that we can work toward mandating climate education curriculum for students all over the world. Climate action starts with education. My work will always include young people, climate activism, and speaking up for people who don’t have a voice.

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