Have you ever experienced climate anxiety? It is easy to feel overwhelmed with all the news stories and research about how our planet is being destroyed. At the height of the pandemic, I found myself going down a rabbit hole of climate change stories and documentaries.
I watched as wildfires ravaged throughout California and Australia. I helplessly watched as hurricanes and natural disasters got stronger and destroyed communities around the world. During the presidential election, I found myself scrolling through a flurry of posts by climate change deniers and getting extremely worked up about it.
I was furious, yet as a young teenager, I felt powerless. It was as though us youth were handed this colossal issue and told, ‘We messed up. Now it’s your problem.’ Despite my deep concern and fear, I did nothing. I was paralyzed by the thought that I was too young to do anything; that even if I tried, adults would not listen to a fourteen-year-old girl, especially in the midst of a global pandemic. I am no Greta Thunberg.
In the summer of 2022, I got a text from a friend saying that a climate movement led by Jewish teens was being started in Baltimore. A few minutes later, I signed up. After two years of feeling helpless, I was relieved to finally have an opportunity like this; an opportunity to use all my bundled-up climate anxiety for a greater good.
The Jewish Youth Climate Movement (JYCM) is a movement for 8th-12th graders who are passionate about the environment and the climate crisis. There are 50 chapters (and growing) around the United States that are dedicated to building and advocating for a healthy, sustainable future through a Jewish lens.