We have seen and heard from scientists that climate change won’t just go away with a magic wand. We all have to do our part — big or small. We are seeing the impact of climate change with more frequent events, such as hurricanes and fires, as well as food insecurity caused by weather and climate justice issues. And all of these things, along with the overwhelming nature of climate change, can have an impact on our mental health.

But we cannot just sit by and do nothing. If we educate people, it is more likely they will know what is going on and take action. This is why I got involved with It’s Our Future and Seven Generations Ahead and why I attended COP27.

What is COP27? 

COP stands for Conference of the Parties. The summit is attended by countries who signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which came into force in 1994. Every year it is hosted by a different country, and this year it was held in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt with representatives from nearly 200 countries who came together to coordinate global climate action for the upcoming year. I attended as a student observer with four other area students. When we get back we will be urging our local leaders to step up and move fast to bring education and awareness to the attention of the community and elected officials.

Stay tuned … you can also follow us on @Iofyouth on social media. I hope others will be inspired by what we are learning and sharing. We are always looking for more people to join our work. More information is available on our website https://sevengenerationsahead.org/its-our-future.

Manolo Avalos is a junior at Oak Park and River Forest High School and attended COP 27, aka The United Nations Climate Conference, with It’s Our Future, Seven Generations Ahead and the PlanItGreen initiative supported by the OPRF Community Foundation.

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