I want to feel good about these steps, and am very complimentary of these young leaders for stepping up and trying to lead older generations to action. I wish them the very best. But I also know from years of experience that major movement on issues like guns and climate change requires more than gaining publicity and attention. Their actions and leadership must result in younger generations becoming more heavily involved in the political process.
At the Staley School of Leadership Studies, we put a great deal of emphasis on civic engagement. We want our students to appreciate that in these times we need citizens who will step up and help their government by truly understanding issues and building support for positive change. Often at the local level, whether it be a school board or a city/county commission issue, if elected officials know there are citizens who understand and will support change, action becomes politically easier.
While many of our problems like climate change require action at the state, national, and international level, quality leadership at the local level is a good start. What is lacking at this point at the national level is the leadership for change by turning growing interest and collective knowledge into real action. We must have elected leaders committed to helping lead successfully on the issue of climate change. In practical terms this means much will ride on our Presidential election. However, it all starts with engagement and good leadership at the local level. We just held local elections here in Kansas, where there was an uptick in attention and turnout to local races. But this momentum must continue to grow for local elections and as we move into 2020.