After "Youth Unstoppable" screening, local youth climate activists discussed the need for urgent climate action

February 12, 2020

A line stretched down the hall outside of the Marquee Theater last Tuesday night, as students, faculty, and community members of all ages showed up for the screening of Youth Unstoppable, a film depicting how youth climate activists around the world are fighting for their futures.

The film follows the story of Slater Jewell-Kemker, a climate activist and filmmaker who began producing the film when she was only 15. It highlights the strength, desperation, and unwavering determination of young people around the world as they fight for climate justice. But they are not alone. There is a growing youth climate movement right here in Madison, and attendees of the film got to experience it firsthand as they engaged in a panel discussion with three young climate activists after the film.

With the credits rolling in the background, Youth Climate Action Team leaders Stephanie Salgado, Anne Sophie Brilla, and Max Prestigiacomo spoke with both passion and clarity as they depicted the desperate need for climate action and radical, institutional change.

“The problem is our affluence, our greediness, and our capitalism,” said Salgado, a Freshman majoring in Environmental Studies and Political Science at UW-Madison.

And as the discussion continued, it became clear that these three young activists weren’t giving up on the fight any time soon. When asked about their greatest need, the panelists spoke with the wisdom that comes from years of experience.

“Youth have given possibly everything but money,” said Brilla, a student at Memorial High School. At the end of the day, she said, money is what it all comes down to.

But despite their limitations, these young activists remain hopeful for change. While they recognize power in money, they also acknowledge the power in collaboration, partnership, and unity.

“Coalition is key,” said Prestigiacomo, a UW-Madison freshman.

With passion and enthusiasm, these young leaders encouraged everyone to join their fight for a healthy and sustainable future by visiting wicatwi.org.