Youth and Native leaders in Utah convened at Capitol Hill today to advocate for action regarding the Great Salt Lake. Reporter Lucy Nelson from Channel 13 News explains why these leaders want their voices to be heard prior to policy-making decisions for the lake. On Saturday afternoon, Utah’s Youth Without immediate action demonstrated on the steps of Capitol Hill to draw attention to the potential collapse of the lake’s ecosystem, which could have irreversible consequences. Native people in Utah also demand to be included in discussions and decision-making processes for the lake, as they believe it deserves the same rights as any living being.
They emphasize that everything in the ecosystem, including plants, animals, water, and air, possesses a spirit and is interconnected. Darren Perry, former chairman of the Northwestern Band Of The Shoshoni Nation, states that adopting a Native American perspective could help save the Great Salt Lake, as they have always prioritized decisions that will benefit future generations.
Liam Mountain Lamalfa, founder of the Youth Coalition for Great Salt Lake, agrees, emphasizing the need to not only maintain but also restore the lake to a healthy level. The groups engaged in discussions to strategize how they can collaborate to protect the lake before the upcoming legislative session. They plan to bring their concerns and stories to legislators, confident that they will listen and care about the lake’s future.
Perry hopes that their voices will be loud enough to prompt action sooner rather than later, as the issue requires substantial progress to prevent irreversible damage. He also highlights the need to provide farmers with incentives and support to assist in conservation efforts.
Ultimately, the group remains optimistic but concerned that their efforts may be too late. Reporting from Salt Lake City, this is Lucy Nelson for Fox 13 News Utah..