Combating climate change can be overwhelming to consider. What can I do about it? It can be hard to know where to start with so many problems looming. No matter our age or profession, we all must begin fighting climate change somewhere. Whether they are making frequent changes in their immediate communities or solving problems on the global level, the following Seattleites are making a difference and have inspired me to, also.
Julia Lin, Age 15
Julia is copresident of Garfield High School’s branch of Earth Corps and will be the sustainability head of the student-led outdoors program, POST.
“I would like to see the environmental movement become more intersectional. Mainstream environmentalism often forgets about the social justice issues that are connected to climate change. My goal with Earth Corps and POST is to make the fight for climate justice more welcoming and accessible. ... It's so important that we continue to advocate for the Standing Rock Sioux and also Flint, Michigan, because everyone deserves to have clean water."
Denis Hayes, Age 72
Denis started Earth Day in 1970. He is president of the Bullitt Foundation and has been fighting climate change through the “vigorous promotion of ultra-efficiency and renewable energy since 1972.” He is currently “focusing much of [his] work promoting buildings in the US and around the world that have a zero carbon footprint.”
“Those of us who have profited since the industrial revolution from cheap fossil fuels have an obligation to help those who didn’t to make a transition to a renewably-powered prosperity. … Big global change can only be accomplished through collective action. We must demand that our elected officials pass laws appropriate to the dire nature of the challenge and that corporations invest as though they actually value tomorrow, and a century from now, and 10 more centuries beyond.”
Rachel Finley, Age 43
Rachel teaches AP environmental science and horticulture at Garfield High School.
“I fight climate change by ensuring our next generation is not only knowledgeable about climate and environmental issues, but they are able to critically analyze the evidence, ask questions about what is causing patterns and trends, and understand that the impacts of climate change reach far beyond the environment. … I think we are living through one of the most important moments in environmental protection. The public resistance and backlash to the current political administration shows that people know what is at stake and are willing to rise up and do something about it.”
Jill Mangaliman, Age 35
Jill works at Got Green helping people of color and low-income people in South Seattle find green jobs, food, energy, housing, and transportation.
“Climate change and environmental racism are symptoms of an unjust, exploitative economic system. We need to move the economy away from one that is harming people and the planet … There are many community-based examples of how to do things differently, many of which existed before from Indigenous people, our traditions, and cultures. … [It is] important to remember that it was black and brown communities who fought hard for environmental justice for decades … Even today, those on the frontlines [in the environmental protection movement] are Indigenous people, youth, women, and people of color, who know first hand the impacts of environmental harm and climate change, and are willing to defend their communities and homes. The Black Lives Matter movement, the Not1More movement, the Climate Justice movement—all of these struggles are connected, because people do not live single-issue lives.”
Pete Erickson, Age 41
Pete is a scientist at the Seattle branch of the Stockholm Environment Institute in their climate and energy program. In 2015, he attended the Paris Climate Conference.
“I would love to see more politically transformative solutions that reduce the power of entrenched interests and increase the power of those marginalized voices that will be most affected by climate disruption. … The most important thing by far is political momentum. Tell your electeds and tell your friends that you want a low-carbon economy. … And when we elevate voices of Indigenous people, such as the Standing Rock Sioux, as well as the laborers that will lead the low-carbon transition, we stand a real chance of building a coalition that can rival the power of the fossil fuel industry.”