Earth Guardian New York leader and RYSE Youth Council member Aidan Ferris spoke up at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s meeting regarding the local Indian Point nuclear power plant. Aidan felt compelled to speak to represent her generation and those who follow. Below is a summary of her action:
It was incredible speaking at the NRC (nuclear regulatory commission) public hearing on Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. There were probably around 100 people there with over 50 signed up to speak either for or against the decommissioning of the plant; it was amazing to see such a large turnout. There were three public comment signup sheets that the meditator rotated between; one for shutting down Indian Point, one for keeping it open and one for people who were impartial. I signed up as speaker #26 on the sheet that was for decommissioning but it became clear very quickly that with so many speakers on each list, it wasn’t likely that I would get the chance to speak. I learned a lot about this issue just sitting and listening to what people had to say but with the majority of the speakers being 40-75, I really felt that a large portion of the population wasn’t being represented; those who would be most affected by the legacy of this decision—the youth and the 7 generations to come. I knew I had to speak up so I asked the mediator to request that someone yield their time to a young person in the audience, but when he announced it he only said my name which gave no context to why I felt I should speak. It was apparent that no one was going to give their spot to me because in their heads they probably just thought I was some impatient older person. After 2 or 3 more speakers I stood up in front of the entire room and introduced myself as someone who was trying to represent a portion of the population that had not yet been spoken for. Just like that someone gave me their spot and I got the chance to speak; it’s amazing what will happen when you put yourself out there. When the youth speak up at events like this, it brings a brand new perspective that’s like a breath of fresh air. In my experience, it’s so insanely powerful when young people get up in front of a crowd of older folks and ask them to think about the future of their children and the world they will be left with. It’s important that more young people start going to public meetings to speak up for themselves and get informed about whats happening. Not only is it educational but it’s especially influential on the way decisions are approached. We need to show the world that the youth have the power to make a difference and change the way people think which is why I brought up the climate pledge. I wanted everyone in the audience and the NRC staff to rethink what it means to be a leader.