Volunteer Spotlight: Piper Christian
By Flannery Winchester
Debate team, student government, paddleboarding and camping with friends—these sound like the activities of your average, albeit active, high school student. But Piper Christian is no average high school student. At 17, she’s also a member of CCL’s Cache Valley chapter in Logan, Utah. She attended a 2015 regional conference in Salt Lake City with her dad and her brother, Logan, and the rest is history.
Today, she joins us to share some youth-led, state-level efforts that are moving the needle in Utah, and why CCL’s focus on relationships help her stay motivated.
What do you like about CCL?
What struck me about the organization when I first got acquainted was the sense of community that it created. I think it is because we are all working toward the same goal—to pass Carbon Fee and Dividend legislation—which creates a sense of group cohesion and unity. And yet at the same time, the organization leaves room for creative new projects. For instance, I love listening to Peterson Toscano’s humor and inspiration on Citizens’ Climate Radio. In short, there is something for everyone in this organization, which I really love.
Please tell me about your main efforts or projects within CCL.
Last year, my high school environmental club introduced a resolution to the Utah State Legislature. It stated that climate change is real and human caused, and it encouraged our state to take more aggressive measures to address it. We believed that generating more conversation about climate change in our state legislature could help persuade our national representatives to join the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus or support CFD legislation. Through our initiative, we were able to hold the first student-led climate change hearing in Utah state history. Students from elementary to graduate school testified on the importance of protecting our planet, and over 14,000 people watched the livestream of our hearing.
My favorite part of the experience was seeing the next generation of lobbyists and political activists emerge. Students spoke at town hall meetings around the state, wrote op-eds and letters to the editor, and made countless phone calls to our state representatives. Our resolution was one vote short of making it onto the House floor, but we’re not giving up. Utah CCL members statewide have lobbied rigorously for our resolution during the interim session, and we plan to reintroduce our resolution this year.
What keeps you motivated to do this work?
Hands down, the people I work with in CCL are my greatest source of motivation. Many of the people I’ve met through CCL have become my greatest friends and mentors. When I’ve felt discouraged, folks in my chapter like David Folland and Jack Greene have unrelentingly supported me to forge on. And through the network CCL has created, I’ve been able to collaborate with passionate students from around the state on projects.
Got a suggestion for our Volunteer Spotlight series? Send the name, chapter and some brief info about the volunteer to Flannery Winchester at flannery @ citizensclimatelobby.org.