For a generation of youth who refuse to continue a legacy of environmental destruction, the promise of a sustainable future is in question if we stay on our current path. Youth are litigating the loss of biodiversity, the acceleration of species extinction, and a planet on fire as they inherit a suffering planet that threatens their future. Driven by fear validated by scientific data, youth are calling for action to be taken across generational divides. In this month’s Youth Climate Leaders interview, we spoke with two of the students leading the climate emergency declaration effort in San Mateo County –– Katinka Lennemann and Lilian Chang –– about the role of education in the push for climate justice.
In a world facing ongoing climate crises, youth bring a belief in science and the will to survive to counter powerful decision-makers driven by self-interest. Two student leaders, Atiya Angleen and Maram Ahmed, helped drive significant change at their schools despite facing challenges. In this Q&A, they share how this advocacy can serve as inspiration for a cultural sea change in the effort to mitigate the climate crisis.
The Hoover Hawks Victory Garden thrives on the Hoover Elementary School campus in West Oakland, a neighborhood rich in history, culture and people. Urban farmer Wanda Stewart is the tireless champion and architect behind the garden project, which has become an intergenerational hub of healing, learning, and wonder for the local community. In this Q&A, Wanda shares her journey to change the lives of students, families, and neighbors by teaching them to nurture a vibrant, fruitful ecosystem.
Across California, young people are making change happen in their communities, and leading the way on environmental action. We interviewed four student leaders in Alameda, Orange, and Santa Cruz Counties who are transforming their communities by cultivating native gardens, teaching sustainable household practices, organizing climate conferences, and more. Hear their thoughts on environmental literacy, engaging young people, social justice, and what we all can do to help create a better tomorrow.
Azucena Nieto is a youth artist and activist working with the Youth for Environmental Action (YEA) group in Santa Cruz County. Her powerful creative writing pieces represent the interconnectedness of nature and our responsibility to carry on the intergenerational fight for environmental conservation.
Seth Whiteaker is a student whose lifelong experiences in nature have fostered a love for native gardening. After founding a Gardening Club at his school, he’s organized a coalition of other student groups to promote sustainability on campus. We spoke with Seth about the role of community in environmental action, the importance of education in promoting student leadership, and the interconnectedness of social and environmental issues.
Rowyn Cook is a student who works with the Youth Environmental Action Group to promote sustainability ideas on social media and organize a climate conference. We spoke with Rowyn about her experiences doing environmental outreach through events and social media, and the power of action and representation.