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    The Portrait

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    The Portrait: Telling the story of Louisville, one person at a time.

    When Fernanda Scharfenberger, a 17-year-old senior at Presentation Academy, first got involved with environmental activism, she often heard, “Oh, that won’t be possible,” and “Maybe if we think smaller.” But to Scharfenberger and the other young people working with the Sunrise Movement, those are not acceptable responses to the climate crisis.

    Scharfenberger, who is adopted, says that poverty and failing agriculture caused by climate change drove her birth mother from her pueblo in the mountains outside Oaxaca, Mexico. Sunrise, a youth-led movement to stop climate change, has autonomous hubs throughout the country, and Scharfenberger co-founded the one in Louisville in 2018. She says that 25 to 40 young people attend the group’s meetings at the Carl Braden Memorial Center in west Louisville. To protest, they’ve slept outside Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office on West Broadway and traveled to Washington, D.C. They’ve also created a program to encourage one student from every JCPS high school to attend Sunrise strikes. “We owe it to future generations to try with everything we have,” Scharfenberger says.

    This originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Photo by Danny Alexander,

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