Albuquerque's Climate March was full of strong opinions and even stronger hope, but not full of youth. That's why I showed up.

It was not because I have a particular love and affection for all things green or can be found hugging trees in my free time. Truth be told, I am not an environmentalist. I am simply an activist. I showed up because I was called on to spread a message and to act for love and justice.

Many have said that young people aren't willing to get involved anymore, that while we are the future, we don't seem to care about the present. I say those people don’t remember what it’s like to stand up for what you care about, for what others care about. They don’t remember the simple thrill of standing up and telling someone no, it’s my turn, even if that someone might have been their parents.

While many in older generations have paved the way for people like me, they all had to start somewhere. My start was watching my country, rooted in diversity and hope, become something so different that it often times made me sick.

I have witnessed an overwhelming passion to do good, to do better, from a youth that now feels left behind. We don’t get involved because we don’t want to just be another warm body, another signature on a petition. We want a seat at the table. We want to share our story, even if some might not like what we have to say. We, as a youth, don’t stand up when you tell us to, we stand up when you show us how to.

I stood up at the climate march because my community needed me to. I embraced a story that wasn’t my own for the benefit of others. Because, what is change without solidarity. Today, I call upon all generations, old and young, to do better, to hope better and to love better.

Keely Scheffler

UNM Student