In 2018, Cat Fernandez watched the city she called home flood in the wake of Hurricane Maria. That devastating week left her to think about all of the people who were left without protection from the storm, and the varying risks people in frontline communities like her’s face. This is what led Cat, like so many young people in Florida, to fight for climate justice in Miami and beyond. Today, Cat is Our Climate’s Florida Field Organizer. Every day she leads a team of student leaders to fight for climate justice in Florida through direct lobbying and creative action.
In 2020, Our Climate alumni and Advisory Council Member Sharona Shnayder never expected that she would start a global environmental justice movement at age 20. But like so many young people, she knew that taking action would be key to solving one of the biggest problems her generation faces. This inspiration led Sharona to found Tuesdays for Trash, a global environmental movement that encourages young people to better their communities by picking up trash on the local level.
Jasmine Davenport, Our Climate’s Executive Director, refers to our student leaders as “Frontline Climate Warriors, they are a force to be reckoned with, coming from environmental justice communities, rooted in rich cultures, built with the resilience of being in one or more historically ignored groups.”
Across the world, young climate leaders stand in defiance to climate despair by fighting for bold climate justice action. By marching, organizing, and lobbying, young climate leaders are fighting for the equitable future they know is possible.
This Earth Day, we’re choosing climate optimism over despair. We know our youth-led movement has the power to overcome climate injustices and inspire systematic change on the local and global level.
The news may focus on climate disaster and crises, but looking deeper will reveal solutions and positive news of the strides of young activists.
The climate movement has taken major strides in the past few years. Thanks to the organizing of young people, climate change was finally discussed in the 2020 presidential debate. The power of young people directly influenced President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda, which has the potential to be a historic investment in climate infrastructure. Time and time again, the youth-led climate movement has celebrated victories that are a testament to its strength.
This Earth Week, Our Climate’s student leaders have been hard at work taking climate action and celebrating the power of their movement. On Tuesday, our student leaders across the country took action in partnership with Tuesdays for Trash to take action in their community. Throughout the week, our student leaders wrote poetry, created visual art, and creatively expressed their feelings toward the earth.
Our Climate has a goal of raising $500 this Earth Week – with gifts up to $500 matched – to fund our National Graduation Summit, a three-day gathering in Washington, D.C where students will create art, lobby their elected officials, and learn climate justice skills. If you are passionate about empowering the next generation of frontline climate warriors, please consider making a donation to our work.
Positive climate news is everywhere once we are open to receiving it. This Earth Day, we hope you will join us in looking toward the brighter future we know to be possible and leaning into solutions that will influence systematic change.