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Hello Climate World! Introducing Elke Arnesen, 18-yo climate activist

Polar Bear-Free Zone

My name is Elke Arnesen, and I am here to start a weekly column with all of your environmental needs–well lots of them. Expect policy updates, opinions on environmental issues, and a lack of polar bear imagery. I know, scandalous, right?

image1But for now, I’d like to introduce myself. I am an 18-year-old gap year graduate who is currently interning with the one and only Peterson Toscano, scheduling events and, on occasion, opening for him.

Pop Singing Dream Recycled

I live in Lancaster, PA, and yes, that’s the city with the worst smog pollution east of Utah (See page 14.) When I was little, I wanted nothing more than to be a pop singer, and now I know it’s best for everyone that I stay in the shower-singing-only circuit. Plus, the music industry was no match for my newfound interest in the natural world.

I don’t have that “turning point” moment in environmentalism when I realized we must take serious and meaningful action now to address these climate issues. Instead, there was a long period in which I slowly made connections among topics in school, experience in the Florida Keys, and incessant googling to figure how exactly how writing letters to Congressmen makes the seas stop rising.

From Concern to Action

By the time I consciously thought “we need to address the environment,” it was already such an obvious statement. “Of course we do; everything is connected.” From there, I started a column at my high school called Our Hot Mess where I tackled the frequently inquired-about topics like national security and deliverance. Now I advocate for carbon pricing legislation as I volunteer for a group called Citizens’ Climate Lobby. I have also begun speaking publicly about our roles as constituents and humans. And for this year I intern for Peterson.

I look forward to telling stories, sharing thoughts, and hopefully bringing some laughter to your world through these weekly glimpses at the realm of environmentalism.

As I always say,

Have a great week and don’t be trashy!


Author: Elke Arnesen

Elke Arnesen is an 18-year-old gap year student interning with Peterson Toscano. She's planning on studying environmental policy in college next year but for now is gaining support for carbon pricing in her free time.

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