NA’s Sophia Ludtke ’20 Attends Young Environmentalists Meeting with Austrian President
Newark Academy junior Sophia Ludtke recently took some time out of the school day to join a group of young environmentalists for a meeting at the Climate Museum in New York City to meet with the Federal President of the Republic of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen who is a former member of the Green Party.
Sophia became involved with the Climate Museum, which curates environmentally-inspired art exhibitions and installations, when she attended a climate justice spoken word poetry workshop run by the organization. Given the recent school strikes for climate change, inspired by Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg, President Van der Bellen wanted to speak to young Americans involved with environmental activism.
During the meeting, students had the opportunity to discuss the United States intentions to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords, the state of environmental legislation in Austria, and the role young people play in climate activism moving forwards.
“To sit at the same table as a world leader who is truly invested in environmental issues and is willing to listen to the voices of young people was incredibly empowering,” Sophia said. “President Van der Bellen also shared with us his deeply-rooted belief that combatting climate change requires not just the changing of minds, but the changing of hearts. He believes in the power of storytelling and the arts in engaging with the emotional dimensions of climate change, which was definitely something that resonated with me. I am incredibly appreciative of the fact that President Van der Bellen made the time to meet with a group of young people, and I left the meeting that much more inspired to engage with environmental activism moving forward.”