October Climate Leader: Gudrun Campbell
This month’s climate leader is local youth activist, 12-year-old, Gudrun Campbell (with megaphone), Co-Founder Charlottesville Youth Climate Strike Network
1. How did you get involved in environmental stewardship within the business framework?
In January of 2019, my language arts teacher showed us a video of Greta Thunberg speaking at Davos and that’s really when the urgency of the issue hit me. When I got home I watched what must’ve been every speech she’s ever given, and then I learned more. I learned about Fridays For Future and Zero Hour and other activists like Greta, and I read an article about Alexandria Villasenor and how she was organizing for a global strike on March 15. The school strikes seemed really far away then. Something that other people did. People that knew enough and had enough experience. But I told my parents I wanted to organize one in Charlottesville. I didn’t know what to expect. Walking to the first strike I remember thinking that 30 people would be great turnout, but we had a couple hundred.
2. What are you hopeful about right now?
Honestly, as I learn more about the issue, hope is becoming much harder to find, but I’m glad more people seem to be taking it seriously.
3. What is one thing that is holding the state or local business community back from greater progress on implementing climate solutions?
I think the biggest obstacle is that the business community doesn't care enough to support politicians who will tackle climate change. Businesses aren't set up to address big, long-term problems, so the solution needs to come from society and the government, because that's who is supposed to deal with these kind of large problems. Even businesses and people who try to do good aren't powerful enough on their own to create the massive change we need to save the planet.
4. What is a climate action personally or professionally that you are proud of?
I am proud of the climate strike I organized in September, which had about 800 people in attendance. This one was my favorite because we had a diverse group of speakers that eloquently tied climate change to issues like environmental racism, and we were able to give people actions that they can take to stop the climate crisis.
5. What is one thing a business can do today to help reduce climate pollution?
Support politicians who want to enact meaningful climate policies.
6. This is challenging work. What is your favorite way to recharge and rejuvenate?
I am only 12, so I’m still juvenated. I take jiu jitsu classes and play cello in my school orchestra. I also like to draw and read.