Yen Le's action

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Action: Plan and go on a hiking trip in the mountains, desert, or beach depending on the region of your school.

Imagine yourself hiking on the clean, white snow in Vermont, surrounded by the beautiful, tall pine trees. There is silence, but you are anything but alone. Among the trees are rabbits, deer, moose, foxes, and wild turkey. Absorbing in all that is around you, you begin to wonder what this will look like in twenty years. Will the animals be able to adapt to the rising temperatures? Will there still be snow on the ground?

Or even imagine hiking on the beach and feeling the mist of the ocean on your face. You see the waves crash to the surface and wonder, in twenty years how far will the shorelines rise?

The answers depend on the actions humans take and their response to climate change. To create response and to engage more people in the environmental movement, the first 100 days of the new administration is dedicated to climate-friendly actions.

A great way to begin the first 100 days of action in an energetic and positive manner is to hike. The close interaction with nature that a hike provides will remind many people the importance of fighting climate change. Time in a natural and peaceful environment will allow them to think and reflect on what they should do to be more active. It will strengthen passions and foster new ideas. Best of all, hiking can be done universally. It can be done in mountains, beaches, deserts, and canyons, which will allow students and organizations from all around the country to plan and participate in this event.

In order to make this action a success, the hikes need to be both well organized and well advertised. Initially, the National-Teach-In can contact college campuses and find interested students to lead and organize these hikes. After this is done, it is up to the students, to continue the organization and to make sure that their peers participate. Within the campuses and communities, student organizers can highly advertise the event through e-mails, Facebook messages, signs on campus, and word of mouth. Professors can also help by giving incentives, such as extra credit points, to students who participate in the hike.

Through personal experience I have found that incentives work well. At my old school, Lawrence Academy, we had a school tradition called “Mountain Day” where students would hike up Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire. My field hockey coach, during my first year of high school, said that she would excuse anyone who hiked up the entire mountain from running sprints the next practice. That year, the entire team completed the hike. During my second year, when there was no incentive, only half of my team completed it. Using incentives, such as extra credit points, free food, or special recognition will encourage and motivate students to participate in the hike for the first 100 days action.

Although there will be many different hikes, the action will unite all students and organizations around the country. It will remind everyone that despite where they are from, they are all fighting for one cause, climate change. Together, students can make a difference that can change the direction of the country. However, to take action, they need to have passion and intrinsic incentive - things that a hike can provide.