Hallie Turner is a 14-year-old climate activist who has been taking steps to change the world since she was just 9 years old.
She’s exchanged letters with the President, written blogs and given speeches in her community, met with the mayor of her city and organized a rally in Raleigh, NC that hundreds of people attended.
Hallie took a break from her busy schedule of balancing homework and changing the world to answer a few questions for us…
When did you first become interested in Climate Change? What inspired you or sparked your interest in this topic?
I first became interested in climate change at age nine (I am now fourteen). I found a book at the library, called “An Inconvenient Truth” by Al Gore, and instantly wanted to learn more. I was inspired from a young age to take action to protect my future, but it wasn’t all easy. From the start I was angry that not everyone around me cared as much about the issue as I did, and finding ways to get involved as a third grader was hard. This motivated me even more, because I realized that I couldn’t just sit around waiting for someone else to take action. I had to take a stand.
Is there a specific issue around climate change that you feel most passionate or more concerned about?
It worries me how eager people are to believe in the reality they choose instead of the reality that exists. We’ve had access to facts and warning signs about the climate crisis for decades, but we keep ignoring the truth. Yes, climate change is a pretty daunting issue. But the sooner we acknowledge its existence, the sooner we can create positive change. Just because the effects of climate change might not be impacting everyone equally doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
I see you are part of an organization called iMatter. What is iMatter?
iMatter is a network and community of youth around the world who are all passionate about environmental activism. It serves as a platform for youth to make their voices heard and start meaningful action on climate change within their communities. Learn more about iMatter here.
Why did you joihn and what did you expect or hope to accomplish through iMatter?
I joined it several years ago because it felt like the only space where I was included within the climate movement (as the organization is run by youth, for youth), and it was also the only space where I felt I was really making a difference in the future of my world. Now, I work with iMatter’s core team of youth on strategy for the organization. I never fail to be inspired by the voices and stories of the young people I work with.
What activities have you participated in or organized for iMatter? Is there one activity that is most memorable or impactful?
I’ve written speeches and blog posts since age nine, and helped organize a climate march in my city. One of the most impactful things I did was work on organizing the event, because it really showed how organizations work behind-the-scenes.
Is it true that you took North Carolina to court over climate change? How did you prepare for that? Were you in the courtroom and if so, what was that like?
I did! The legal team I’ve been working with had a much larger share of background preparation, but I still had a lot to prepare for. I was in the courtroom on the day our case went in front of a judge. It was incredibly stressful–but also incredibly gratifying–to see my passion and hard work manifest itself in a courtroom. It really made me feel the power my voice has, and was definitely a day I won’t forget.
What were you hoping to accomplish and what was the outcome? What can our state do to combat climate change?
Our goal is to establish a more realistic standard for regulating greenhouse gas emissions in North Carolina. While the outcome of that one hearing wasn’t positive, the case continues and our work is far from over!
What can individuals do to combat global warming in their everyday lives?
Small steps lead to bigger ones. At this point in the climate crisis, what we need more than individual lifestyle changes are massive cultural changes. However, that’s definitely not to say that individual actions can’t have a huge impact. I didn’t start my activist journey by suing my state government, I started by learning as much as I could about an issue I was curious about, and I slowly started sharing that knowledge with the people around me.
What advice or encouragement do you have for other tweens looking to make a difference in the world, whether about climate change or other issues that are important to them?
It’s important to remember that combating a large issue like the climate crisis definitely requires giant steps, but never disregard the value of your own smaller ones. Those steps matter, too.
In her free time Hallie is involved in theater and chorus and enjoys running.