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Davis Journal

Davis local, Muskan Walia, leads a different kind of climate charge

Apr 18, 2024 09:16AM ● By Braden Nelsen
Youth Climate Summit 2024 Keynote Speaker Muskan Walia Muskan Walia. Photo courtesy of Natural History Museum of Utah

Youth Climate Summit 2024 Keynote Speaker Muskan Walia Muskan Walia. Photo courtesy of Natural History Museum of Utah

DAVIS COUNTY—Readers will remember a story from November in which a college senior from Woods Cross ran for city council. That student, Muskan Walia, said that win, lose, or draw she would be dedicated to improving the lives of people in Davis County and the surrounding area, and her recent activity has shown that she really, genuinely meant what she said.

A leader and mentor within the Utah Youth Environmental Solutions (UYES), Walia was recently featured as a keynote speaker at the Youth Climate Summit at the Natural History Museum of Utah. Working together, Walia with UYES has been working to educate, and train the youth of the state in climate issues, and, “give them the tools and resources” they need to be on the front lines when it comes to climate issues.

UYES has already been making big differences around the state, including its campaign to get public schools in Utah to convert to 100% clean energy. While seemingly a tall order, many schools have already gotten on board. The Salt Lake, Granite, Park City, and even Davis School Districts have all taken great strides to utilize completely clean and renewable energy, and it’s the little things that will ultimately make the difference. 

For the Great Salt Lake, those little things include filling in the gaps in the movement to protect the body of water. For Walia, and UYES, that includes helping people realize how important the lake is personally, reminding them of, “personal stories of impact beyond recreational use.” Working with the Great Salt Lake, and climate change can seem it would foster an environment of doom and gloom, but Walia and others at UYES try to balance their education and trading with an understanding, and foster, as Walia put it, “A climate of hope.” 

In that way, Walia says, their climate campaign is a little different, and hopefully, more approachable. That isn’t where UYES’ differences end, however. “Young people get tokenized in social movements,” explained Walia, saying how her organization works to empower youth in these social movements, and helping them to, “be engaged in political conversations in a more meaningful way.” For Walia and those that she has helped instruct, it’s all about learning, and empowering.

“I’m making lots of mistakes along the way,” she said but said as well that making mistakes and learning from them is all part of the journey. “I understand and empathize with lots of people around climate change,” Walia said, adding how UYES does a great job of helping those who might feel overwhelmed by everything going on in the world of climate change, meeting them where they are, and helping them make a difference.

“Stewardship,” said Walia, “is a big value in Utah, being good stewards,” and that’s something she and others in UYES hope people will realize about the environment before the point of no return. “Try not to be too optimistic, but try not to fall into the trap of urgency,” she said, encouraging people around the state, not just youth, to stand up and take action, “It’s a thrilling opportunity.” More information about Utah Youth Environmental Solutions, their mission, and goals can be found at