Volunteer Spotlight: Sophie Fetter
By Elise Koepke
Sophie Fetter, a high school senior from Ann Arbor, Michigan, has taken her involvement with CCL to the next level. A member of CCL’s Ann Arbor chapter for over a year, Sophie has tabled at events and assisted with her chapter’s social media. She’s even spoken about the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act on a youth discussion panel and participated in town halls in her hometown of Ann Arbor.
But recently, Sophie has combined her unique skills and her CCL work. “I decided to merge my passions with my climate advocacy,” she explains. Drawing on her interest in the economics of carbon pricing and her aptitude for video making, Sophie created an animated video explaining H.R. 763. She spent nearly a year working on the project. In the video, she offers an overview of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act and explores the hidden costs of fossil fuels. You can watch Sophie’s video here:
What’s next for Sophie? She plans to go to college and study some combination of psychology, neuroscience, public policy, education, and philosophy. Before she gets too busy, we caught up with her to learn more about her time with CCL.
How did you first get connected with CCL? When?
I’m a senior in high school. I first encountered CCL at a street fair the summer between my sophomore and junior year. They had a booth with a quiz about climate change. It caught my eye, so I stopped and took the quiz. I started talking with the chapter leader, and I put my name down on the email list. I hardly ever did anything like that—sign up for something on the spot—but I liked the enthusiasm the volunteers possessed. I got an email from her a few days later and started attending chapter meetings.
What did you like about CCL?
I love how connected CCL is with the spirit of representative democracy. CCL has such well-established relationships with members of Congress. I got to meet with lawmakers, which I would never have been able to do without CCL. I loved feeling like my voice was heard. CCL is so collaborative, hard-working, and optimistic. I think those qualities are what has led to our success. We work hard and we get to see progress being made, like Ann Arbor pledging to be carbon neutral by 2030. I attended that town hall as a guest speaker and participated in a youth discussion panel. CCL was one of the climate change organizations that made that possible.
Please tell me about your main efforts or projects within CCL.
One of my main efforts with CCL was tabling at events. I really enjoyed talking to others about this issue that matters to me. I also help run the social media for our chapter. Lastly is my climate change video. I’ve always loved animation and video-making. As a kid, I filmed movies with my sister. I talked to some people in the chapter about making the video, and they all really liked the idea. I started working on the video when I started 11th grade and didn’t finish until I was in the 12th. You can imagine it felt really good to finally get it done! I’m so happy that the video has been so positively received. I created it as a resource for CCL chapters across the country to use, and I’ve gotten many messages from people saying that’s just what they’re doing!
What keeps you motivated to do this work?
I stayed motivated because I know how important this issue is. My generation is going to live through the consequences. I remember I was in middle school science class and we watched “An Inconvenient Truth.” We were silent the entire movie. The teacher turned the video off, there was a moment’s pause, and then some kids started crying. It was even scarier to know that movie was made in 2006. I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch the follow-up.
It’s so important that the youth speak up now. Our voices are powerful. I have hope about this issue, and a lot of it comes from young people. I work with CCL because I want to be heard. I’m so thankful for CCL and so glad I got involved.
Got a suggestion for our Volunteer Spotlight series? Send the name, chapter, and some brief info about the volunteer to Flannery Winchester at *protected email*.
Elise Koepke is a communications intern with Citizens’ Climate Lobby. She is a recent graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she studied Earth Science.