Youth Activism + Grassroots Fundraising Is Instrumental To Building The Future We Want To See
The future rests on empowering and supporting youth leaders as agents of change. This year alone, we have seen students sue their universities for their fossil fuel investments, and plan huge climate justice demonstrations in virtual settings. As a college junior and the board co-chair of Power Shift Network, our organization is gearing up to launch one of the largest convergences for youth climate activists in 2021. Climate change isn’t going away any time soon, and neither are we.
My conviction for the need to support youth in tackling global warming and issues of environmental justice started in 2016. I was in high school working on supporting a Maryland state-wide styrofoam ban with my best friend when we realized that there was a lack of youth voices shaping environmental legislation. In response, we co-founded Baltimore Beyond Plastic, a now internationally-awarded organization, working with hundreds of Baltimore youth to lobby for environmental legislation. With the immense support from local nonprofits and the mobilization of community members, our team was able to successfully lead the passage of a city-wide styrofoam ban. Baltimore City Council President Jack Young even credited the students with being instrumental in getting the legislation passed.
After moving across the country for college, I realized that the support I received throughout my high school activism was not universal, and that collaboration between climate activists is essential for the continuation of successful strategies. I got connected with Power Shift Network through my work with member organizations DivestEd and Fossil Free Stanford. The resources I found in the Power Shift Slack community and the connections to new national campaigns has been absolutely pivotal in shaping my view of the climate movement as it stands today. PSN has been instrumental in shaping the vision of the youth climate movement for generations of activists, and it continues to do so even now.
I know from experience that youth can tackle big environmental issues and win. As the year comes to a close, our relentless fight for climate justice does not. Support PSN as we build a new generation of climate activists and a movement that policymakers cannot and should not ignore.