This entry is posted on behalf of Mino Caulton a junior at Amherst Regional High School who recently became involved in The Leadership Campaign. He gives a brief overview on his involvement and his experience during The Leadership Campaign’s non-violent direct actions on Earth Day.

I am Mino Caulton and I am a junior at high school in Amherst. I just got involved with my school’s Environmental Action Club this year, but I’ve been on my towns Recycling and Solid Waste Committee since February of 2009. I like being politically active and aware, and when Kaia Zimmerman, a fellow high school student, talked about the Leadership Campaign during school, I wondered how I could become more involved.

The Leadership Campaign is a group of students and community members pushing legislation in Massachusetts supporting 100% clean electricity in ten years through lobby efforts and non-violent direct actions coined ‘sleepouts’. The campaign is under the umbrella group Students for a Just and Stable Future (SJSF) who also runs New England Climate Summer.

Not long after  Kaia’s speech, I became the Western MA high school coordinator. I decided it would be good for both myself and SJSF.

I’d stopped by a sleepout during the first half of the campaign, and was impressed, everyone was so nice! I was really excited to go and meet everyone again during the second half of the campaign where there were four sleepouts, Amherst, Cambridge, Worcester and Boston. I did not attend the Amherst sleepout but by the time the Cambridge sleepout came around, I was really excited to go and meet everyone again. I had a great time in Cambridge, and was super excited for Boston.

I recruited three more students from Belchertown High School to join a junior from Northampton, and ten more students from Amherst High School. It was encouraging to see so many high schoolers at what was predominantly a college-age event, both as an environmentalist and as a 17 year old!

The event itself was great. It was great to see all my friends there, but better to see them being involved in intellectual conversations with people who they didn’t know! All the speakers were fantastic, pointing out both the need for change and our ability to change. It was really encouraging seeing people, most of whom aren’t much older than I am, giving passionate and incredibly thoughtful speeches.

In the morning, 5 Amherst High School students including myself engaged in the stand-in.  We waited and sat in at Binienda’s office until he called. The other four – all freshmen – sat directly across from Craig and I. When Binienda called, the freshmen, who for the most part  knew nothing about the LC two weeks ago, were leaning in as close as they could listening intently.

I learned a lot from this Earth Day, but one thing that really stood out as encouraging was to see so many high schoolers there. We all had a great time at such a memorable event. It’s disappointing that this is the last sleepout of the semester; in all likelihood we could have even more at the next one! But we are starting to organize… hopefully we can get a really, really strong movement soon!

For more information on the Leadership Campaign, their policy, and how to get more involved, visit their website, facebook, and twitter.

100% Clean Electricity by 2020!