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Youth Forum: Tend The World

Events | Teach the World

Register early!

Tend the World Youth Forum: The Global Link Between the Environment and Social Justice

Wednesday, March 8, 8:30am-3pm

Portland State University, Smith Memorial Student Union

Co-sponsored by the Portland Public Schools Climate Justice Committee, Rethinking Schools &

PSU Office of International Affairs

This year we explored the global link between the environment and social justice, offering workshops, resources, an action fair and networking opportunities for high school students. We’re excited to kick off the day with youth led workshops sharing their climate change action projects. In the afternoon, we will explore school garden education, the status of climate refugees, the future of the world’s forests. In addition, we will look at the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, environmental stewardship, community organizing and much more!

View the Resource Guide from our December 2016 Tend The World Educator's Conference

  • Below is a powerful poem collectively written by Roosevelt High School teacher Moé Yonamine and 75 students from various schools in the Portland metro region who attended our recent "Tend the World Youth Forum" exploring the global link between the environment and social justice on March 8th, 2017. The poem is inspired by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner's poem titled Tell Them.

 

Tell Them We Are Warriors

Tell them we refuse to be the first climate change refugees 

As if we have no country

No roots, no belonging

Tell them we refuse to be just a story

We are not drowning. We are fighting. 

 

Our islands are being consumed 

By coastal waves and coal ships

Our peaceful tides have become like kings’

Tides engulfed from climate crisis

 

While we are connected to the past generations

We are fighting for our future generations

We may be small but we are mighty

We are one thousand voices with

One million stories

 

Tell them we refuse to be just a story

We are not drowning. We are fighting. 

 

Among us, strong women oppressed by governments

Attacked by tigerous mosquitos

Refusing military, bases, violence

For war on our lands they are

Back off of my homeland united we say

 

We are ancient with life spans longest of us all

Fighting colonialism for the sacred lives underwater

Even if we are poor, we will be healthy

As long as we protect our home and sea

From those who try to destroy and occupy

 

Tell them we refuse to be just a story

We are not drowning. We are fighting. 

 

We are not just a paradise

You flee to in the warm months

We are a nation with struggles overcome on our own

Among a sacred chain of beauty

Whose existence we preserve to guarantee forever

To our hundreds of millions of people

Head high in perseverance and strength

 

If you like your vacations on our beautiful islands

Then protect them

For if you appreciate our islands

Then love our land as we do

‘Cause when you do the math our shorelines could be pushed in a lifetime too soon

 

Tell them we refuse to be just a story

We are not drowning. We are fighting. 

 

Tell them that we are shouting but you have not heard us just yet

Our islands are everything 

Dignity unspoiled by those who assume they are stronger

But only in resources money buys

Never in humanity and beauty generations rooted in proud culture

 

They have not heard us yet

For when they do, they will recognize our 852 different languages 

Echoing past rising sea levels

Telling the world we will rise above this wave of colonization 

We are warriors and our fight has just begun

 

In one voice let the world hear us today

 

Tell them we refuse to be just a story

We are not drowning. We are fighting. 

 


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