- Cheltenham High School
Students Represent Cheltenham at Rep. McCarter’s Climate Town Hall
Members of the CHS student council — seniors Cara Fields, Isabelle Beatus and Atara Saunders — along with freshman Charlie Sywulak-Herr attended Rep. Steve McCarter’s Town Hall on the climate crisis this past week at the Springfield Township Administration Building and were, appropriately, front and center.
“They were amazing,” said Megan Gorman Rep. McCarter’s Director of Communications and a Cheltenham School District parent. “I was so incredibly proud. They are so bright and engaged and poised — a wonderful testament to themselves, of course, but also to the Cheltenham School District.”
The town hall panel discussion included Chris Rabb, Pennsylvania State Representative; Leann Leiter, Earthworks Pennsylvania and Ohio field advocate; Bill Mettler, Citizens Climate Lobby; Liam Collyer, Arcadia University freshman; Art Haywood, Pennsylvania State Senator; Melissa Troutman, Earthworks Research and Policy Analyst; and Joy Bergey, Climate Advocate.
The conversation focused on what’s happening locally and globally as the climate changes. A number of other young people attended specifically to communicate their generation’s sense of urgency of the problem and their great concern over their future.
Beatus felt the event was important as a “great first step” to spreading the word about the climate crisis. She is focused on a Green New Deal type of legislation in the Pennsylvania state legislature and legislation to address environmental racism, “When people of color and minorities are disproportionately affected by climate change, which is extremely prominent in Chester County, Pennsylvania,” she said.
“These events have to be more focused towards getting young people to attend since we are the ones facing the crisis head on, and many people aren't fully aware of the situation or what solutions are out there. Local efforts like these are incredibly important. The climate crisis is a huge issue with so many moving parts. Every seemingly small event is helpful in educating the community and ensuring everyone is aware of what they can do, no matter how small.”
Saunders thought the breadth of the panelists was a valuable experience. She chimed in with a comment about climate education and invited each of the panelists to come speak at CHS.
“Local efforts like the climate town hall are essential in the fight against climate change,” Saunders added. “This town hall and similar local efforts bring together like-minded individuals who are committed to action. This helps us make connections in our fight to make a difference.”
“Our youth have brought climate change to the fore and are actually moving the dial on the issue,” said Rep. McCarter, founder and co-chair of the bipartisan, bicameral Pennsylvania Climate Caucus. “Thousands of young people — some of them here tonight — are engaging in projects and actions around the globe to counter their fears of a coming world greatly changed by the climate crisis. I am galvanized by their involvement and very grateful for it.”