Guest opinion: Want a cleaner future? We all must take action. |

Guest opinion: Want a cleaner future? We all must take action.

Brooke Walterson and Emma Cook
Park City High School students

As teenagers in the 21st century, we have witnessed the ups and downs of our changing planet. We have begun to realize how fortunate we are, and how the experiences we had as children will not be the same for future generations. I often think of how when I was a little kid, my family would take trips to the Colorado River to splash in the water all day, or the countless powder days I’ve been able to enjoy, being excited to wake up early and get out on the mountains, and truly experience the “Best Snow on Earth.”

Yet, I have begun to think that I won’t be able to enjoy these experiences the way I used to. I won’t be able to spend my time in the Colorado River as it continues to dry out and vanish. I will no longer be able to float through the trees as the days become warmer, and the snowfall lessens each year.

Every year, the beauties of Utah are deteriorating, but there are so many things we can do as a community to help our planet heal. When Emma and I heard about the opportunity to become energy ambassadors for our school, we were ecstatic for the opportunity to teach our peers — and ourselves — more about our carbon footprints. We know that bringing others together can truly make a change, and bringing this to our high school was a great start to changing our community for the better. Not only did we want to make a difference, but so did many students and teachers at our school. By the end of 2020, we signed up over 150 families to the SCPW Challenge, committed to emission-reducing actions. The support we received from the school was unbelievable — people clearly care about our climate and want to make a difference.

The SCPW Challenge is a remarkable start to improving our future, as people throughout our community are making commitments to take action to better our planet. One exciting example is a motivated group of students from our high school that teamed up together to campaign for 100% clean energy for Park City School District, and received amazing support from community members around Utah. Park City has also made big plans, including working towards 100% renewable energy for city operations by 2022, and for the complete community by 2030.

These amazing steps towards a cleaner future can be accomplished by the support of the community in making these big plans happen. Though looking at our potential future can be scary, there are many changes you can make today that will truly make an impact. The easiest step in the right direction is learning. Read articles, stay up to date on the latest news, and join the SCPW Challenge to begin to make small changes in your daily life. This website allows you to track not only your progress, but calculate how many tons of CO2 along with the money you have saved. Another quick and easy way to get started is by signing the petition for Park City School District to move towards a green energy future, which will wildly reduce our community’s carbon footprint. Finally, watch the film and get informed on how everything impacts our environment and how the small changes can truly make a difference. As we come together in the upcoming years, these small changes we make in our daily lives will make a big difference, and it is up to you to make that change, so our grandkids will be able to experience the same beauty of Utah as we have.

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