Scout Pronto Breslin is a 17-year-old climate and environmental activist from Rhinebeck, N.Y. who is taking on the cause of protecting wildlife by rehabilitating injured birds and animals.
Breslin doesn’t remember when she first heard about the climate crisis — for many members of Gen Z, the issue has always been central to their lives. At a young age, her love of animals found Breslin volunteering at the Audobon Wildlife Rehab Clinic.
“We take in injured birds, small mammals and reptiles year-round and we try to make them better,” Breslin tells In The Know. “Seeing it firsthand, birds come in with chemical poisoning and their muscles would be messed up because of it. It’s really sad.”
Birds need rehabilitation for a plethora of reasons from getting hit by cars to being shot. Pollution is also a major factor.
“A lot of them will eat fish that have toxins in them because the water that the fish swim in is polluted with chemicals because of runoff from pesticides or fertilizers,” she explains. “The birds ingest those toxins and they become sick.”
Breslin advocates for nature-based solutions, where nature is used in a sustainable way to solve environmental issues.
“When we destroy those environments, we are destroying nature’s natural way of cleaning the earth,” she says.
Climate change encompasses so many fields and interests, Breslin says it’s easy to pick what you’re passionate about and connect it to the issue.
“I’m interested in wildlife so that’s my focus. If you’re interested in clean energy, go down the solar panel path,” the teenager explains. “Like, try to get solar panels in your town.”
While it can be frustrating when people don’t acknowledge the issue, she feels strongly that Gen Z will play a role in solving it.
“People don’t see climate change as something they don’t have to worry about, because it’s 100 years plus from now — but it’s not,” Breslin says. “We are the future. We are gonna be the changemakers when it is crucial that we make the right decisions.”
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