At the EPA Hearing by Max Chu

On February 28th, 2018, I attended the EPA hearing at the Main Public Library alongside my fellow Environmental Club.  The hearing was organized so that EPA representatives could hear the word of the people of the Bay Area, in reference to the recent announcement that the Clean Power Plan would be repealed. The people of the Bay Area who were dissatisfied with this ruling came to make their voices heard, including the students of SOTA. Below is the speech I delivered at the hearing from students at SOTA. The activists at this school inspire me.


Hello, My name is Max Chu, and I am a 16 year old student. Today, I am here to bring to your attention one very specific idea that I find important and want to share with you, and that is a seed vault. A seed vault is a place where lots and lots of different types of seeds are kept, and in the event that some one of the species kept in the vault goes extinct, scientists can go into the seed vault, replant that plant, and the species is saved. These vaults actually exist, and the one that is most popular and the one I would like to bring to your attention is the seed vault in the archipelago of Norway called Svalbard. The vault is nicknamed the “Doomsday Vault” due to the fact that if the world were to ever need the vault, we would be in or past the point of “Doomsday” and would need the seeds in the vault to reestablish society. This vault is encased in 120 meters of sandstone and chilled in permafrost. What I would like to tell you is that the permafrost is melting. This idea of frost that would never melt, hence the suffix perma-, is melting. The vault is about 800 miles from the north pole but the north pole was 60-70 degrees warmer than normal this last winter, and so the permafrost is melting around the vault, the seeds are at risk, and so when “Doomsday” comes, we’ll have no contingency plan. What I ask of you, EPA representatives, is that in light of this hope of the vault under threat of being extinguished, I ask that you give us some semblance of hope that we are trying to stop this. That we are working against the “Doomsday” and not with. Thank you.

Max Chu, class of 2020

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