• Quinn Cook

Being Uncomfortable For The Climate

Just a couple days ago, on Feb. 13th, I jumped into a creek. You read that right, into a Potomac creek, while it was snowing, and sleeting, and 28 degrees outside. I didn’t do this just for fun, although doing it with my climate friends (distanced with masks of course) was indeed fun, but to raise money for climate change.

I was participating in CCAN’s (Chesapeake Climate Action Network) Polar Bear Fundraiser event, which happens every year during the winter to raise funds for the nonprofit group. People promise to jump into icy winter water and receive donations to CCAN to support their cause, almost like a winter water walk-a-thon. CCAN does amazing work in D.C, Virginia and Maryland, and I was so proud to help raise money to support their crucial work. My climate club, Churchill For Climate, which I run with some of my other GenGreen officers, and our full school team amazingly broke our goal by thousands! The fundraiser and icy painful plunge alike were a great success in terms of money, but also in terms of taking hopeful action.

So why do I share and post this, and write about it for kids and teens to read. It is because I’d like to share lessons I’ve learned and felt throughout my climate action, and especially within this process.

Those lessons are all about sacrificing for things you care about, namely the environment, and doing so as a kid or teen. Just because we are young does not mean we cannot be uncomfortable and do things that are different. We can take selfless action, and it doesn’t have to be some big fundraiser or involve money at all. It can be as simple as being that friend who reminds others of the Earth and our climate, the son or daughter who refuses single-use plastic, the classmate who turns off the lights or faucet.

Our climate problems are scary and big, but not impossible to beat. It takes all of us in younger generations to help build the safe future we want, and so don’t be scared to take action and go further for the climate. Be bold and creative. Be a climate hero in your own life, whatever that means!

I am grateful that I was able to raise so much for such a good cause, and that I survived my cold water pledge. Using GenGreen as a resource to build your climate learning and caring is an amazing start! Please feel free to check out CCAN’s organization, or tell your parents about their amazing work.

All in all, even as Elementary or Middle school students, climate action and putting ourselves through uncomfortability are not impossible, so I wish you luck finding ways to help the environment and reduce your own footprint (environmental impacts)! Keep learning and keep looking out for your planet!

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