First year EH student, Brooke Larsen has organized Uplift--a climate action community for young people across the Colorado Plateau--for the past two years. From August 18-20, 2016 Uplift held its second annual conference, uniting nearly 100 young people in the San Juan National Forest outside of Durango, Colorado.
While camping under the ponderosa pines, participants explored concepts ranging from just transition and decolonization, to diversity in the outdoors and creative direct action. Also in attendance were EH alumni Alisha Anderson and Laura Schmidt, who led workshops stemming from their theses in EH. Alisha led a workshop titled "Art as Ritual," exploring the process of creating with the land rather than imposing oneself. Participants also helped Alisha with an art as advocacy project in which strings of leaves outweighed a piece of oil shale. Laura led a workshop on grieving climate change and led attendees in reflective exercises, asking questions such as, "What sustains you?" Other climate activists from Utah who spoke include Lauren Wood and Sarah Stock.
With a passionate belief in the power of story, Uplift shaped the three conference days around the public narrative theme: story of self, story of us, and story of now. Through storytelling, art, and creative action planning, the Uplift community is striving to find ways to interface with climate justice that match the emotional depth of this existential crisis.