Environmental protection has always been very important to me, as well as to my family. Some of my first and fondest memories are going to national parks and forest preserves. My parents taught me that the main job of a parent is keeping their children safe, and although I may only be a freshman in college, fighting for environmental justice is a preemptive way that I can help my future children.

On Earth Day this year I will be participating in the Madison People’s Climate March. The march will be going to Madison Gas and Electric to encourage the organization to supply cleaner energy to Dane County.

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When I heard about the march I was immediately interested in joining it. I was tired of my only form of activism being sharing articles on Facebook and saw this as my opportunity to take a real step in soliciting positive change to a community I care so much about.

I was raised in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Coming to Madison made me homesick. Most of my teen life, besides doing school work, was spent volunteering, which made me feel like I had done something to improve my community.

Madison is a vibrant and culturally rich city, and being dropped in the middle of it left me overwhelmed. How could I contribute to an already-great city?

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Fortunately, I only had to ask myself that for a semester before I heard about the march. I signed up to help plan and organize it, which in turn exposed me to a beautifully unselfish side of Madison. The group organizing ranged from college students to those whose grandchildren were college students, but no matter the age, everyone I met during this process thinks about future generations more than their own.

No matter where someone is from and no matter their age, climate change effects everyone. For this reason, I feel that environmental activism isn’t just acting for cleaner energy, but is acting toward a universal acceptance of differences between people to improve life for future generations.

I am marching in the Climate March not only to get involved in the city of Madison, or to help save the environment, but to help make our world a place where I would be happy to raise children. I wanted to march to help the community, but as I’ve learned, this community extends past any city’s boundary.

Spencer Bierman ([email protected]) is a freshman majoring in chemical engineering.