First Coast Connect: A Local Environmental Group Joins Global Movement

May 11, 2016


Around the world, thousands of environmental groups are raising awareness for climate change.

The global movement Break Free 2016 is a series of events taking place this month, encouraging independence from fossil fuels.

St. Augustine’s Environmental Youth Council is hosting the March for Future Generations Rally on Sunday. A march across the Bridge of Lions begins at 2:30 p.m. and the rally at the Lightner Museum, 75 King St., begins at 3 p.m.

Bill Hamilton of St. Augustine’s Environmental Youth Council joined Melissa Roth on Tuesday’s First Coast Connect.

“Climate change is real,” Hamilton said. “Global warming is real. We are seeing the effects of that every day. The causes for that are manmade and we need to take responsibility for that to do better.”

The Environmental Youth Council began 20 years ago to educate children in middle and high schools about environmental and social issues.

Through weekly meetings and visits to the legislature, students were exposed to policies and policy makers who could have a direct impact on their future. About four years ago, the youth council opened up the meetings to all ages.

“These are big worldwide problems and issues that are not going to solve themselves.” Hamilton said. “All people will need to engage and find solutions.”

And the main purpose of the March for Future Generations is to reach out to those in Jacksonville who are not concerned with this issue and engage in discourse with them.

“It's not enough to elect an official — a Democrat or a Republican — and say ‘I want you to take care of these issues for me.' ” Hamilton said. “We elect those representatives and then it’s up to us to be engaged in our civil discourse and government to advance that which is best for the community at large.”