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Environment

Utah Just Passed Its First Climate Change Resolution — Thanks to a Group of Teens

In Utah, a “little” high school environmental club is having a big impact on state policy. 

This March, thanks to more than two years of lobbying from members of the Logan Environmental Action Force (LEAF), a science club at Logan High School, the state of Utah passed a groundbreaking climate change resolution, CNN reports

Called the “Concurrent Resolution on Environmental and Economic Stewardship,” the resolution urges Utah to undertake the “responsible stewardship of natural resources and reduction of emissions.” 

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While the language in the resolution is not legally binding, it represents a major step forward in the fight against climate change, especially in the state of Utah where some lawmakers have refused to acknowledge climate change, and which rejected an earlier version of the same resolution, according to CNN. 

The document also calls for the state to embrace technological innovation to serve rural communities, incentivize companies that reduce their emissions, and prioritize “sound science” when it comes to addressing the “causes of a changing climate.” 

Members of LEAF, including high school senior Piper Christian, worked alongside Republican Rep. Becky Edwards, of the Utah House of Representatives, to draft the resolution. 

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“Our little high school environmental club got wind of this, and we were really inspired to be more involved politically,” Christian told CNN

Last week, students were invited to a ceremonial signing of the resolution, alongside Republican Gov. Gary Herbert. 

“It’s gratifying to see that next generation come up and to see their influence,” Edwards told the Associated Press. “And it leaves me with a tremendous sense of optimism for the future.”

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The resolution comes as the state of Utah emerges from a winter that featured record snowfall and “drastic climate swings” that affected crop yields for farmers, according to KUTV meteorologist Sterling Poulson

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It is also marked the first time a conservative state legislature in the US recognized climate change, according to local Utah paper The Independent.  

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