Lauren May: youth activist fiercely dedicated to protecting the environment
This edition of Michigan LCV Family Stories highlights Lauren May, a high school student and Our Water Activist/volunteer for Michigan LCV. Her dedication to protecting Michigan’s environment started at a very young age, from vegetarian at nine years old, to a seasoned volunteer for Michigan LCV at 16.
At only 9 years old and without influence from anyone in her family or friend group, Lauren May decided to become vegetarian and hasn’t looked back since. May says that when she decides to live to a certain standard she sets for her life, she sticks to it. This level of self discipline was clear when she made the decision to cut meat from her diet at such a young age, and it is still clear now at age 16 as she recently received a perfect SAT score, a direct result of her hard work and determination (and a statistical anomaly with less than 0.5 percent of students receiving such an accolade).
While May is only 16, her passion for doing what is right and protecting the environment has been a part of her life for as long as she can remember. Growing up in Traverse City, respecting and appreciating all that Michigan’s environment offers is something that comes naturally to her. When she decided to become vegetarian for animal ethics reasons and started learning about the environmental benefits to the movement, it fit well into her values to tack on the title “environmentalist” and learn what else she can do to protect Michigan and the people who depend on its natural resources.
“This is so serious, I can’t see myself not making this part of my life.”
The more she learned about the movement, the more involved she got. May started off by taking individual actions, then got involved in organizations in her school and community. A year ago, she started out as a volunteer at Michigan LCV and evolved into a volunteer leader speaking at orientations, attending trainings, and helping out with phone banking. Now she is a MLCV Our Water Activist and an invaluable asset to the program.
Outside of MLCV, she is also President of the Students for Environmental Advocacy club at her high school, a member of her local Sierra Club chapter.
But May had a shift in mindset when she joined a climate strike with her high school’s Students for Environmental Advocacy club alongside Michigan LCV. She cites the climate strike as the moment where she realized this isn’t just about individual action, this is something our government, corporations, and institutions need to be addressing at a larger scale.
When asked about environmental justice and the importance of protecting Michigan’s land, air, water, and public health, May had this to say:
“On social media we see people say protect the environment, protect the earth– but we have to think about the people who live on the earth too.”
May says the best way to become an environmentalist is to apply your passions to the movement. If you are an artist, create thought-provoking art about the climate crisis. If you are a writer, become an environmental journalist. May plans to apply her passions to the movement by double majoring in Environmental Studies and Math when she goes to college, and maybe even go to law school to practice Environmental Law someday. With her perfect SAT score, she has lots of options for furthering her education, including the Columbia Climate School’s program which she was recently accepted into. Wherever life takes her, we know she will do great things and continue to make waves in the environmental space, fighting relentlessly for Michigan’s land, air, water, and public health.