Across generations, they’re pushing climate change to the forefront

For those who live in the Bay Area, Sept. 9 was a day they will never forget. Nina Schmier remembers waking up that morning to a completely orange sky, the bizarre byproduct of an intense wildfire season that has become an annual occurrence for Californians.

“I felt like everything was breaking down in our world,” said Schmier, a 16-year-old who attends Hillsdale High School in San Mateo.

The recent blazes in the state, scientists say, were worsened by a warming planet.

But are voters in the upcoming election focused on climate change? It’s an issue that can easily get buried, with the national conversation dominated by Covid-19, the possibility of a disputed election, racial justice protests, the economy, debates over health care, Amy Coney Barrett’s ascension to the Supreme Court, the spectre of right-wing fringe groups and the war against disinformation.

But for Schmier and others, those orange skies were a foreshadowing of a disastrous future.

Now, she is one of many young activists determined to keep climate change at the forefront of voters’ minds.