Last week, 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg joined the masses outside of Los Angeles City Hall to march against fossil fuel drilling in California, water quality and plastic pollution. Thunberg’s presence in LA draws attention to the work local climate activists are doing.
Here are five local activists you should know:
Stand LA is a coalition of Los Angeles community members who are working to end neighborhood oil drilling, hoping to improve the health and safety of city residents. The organization spreads awareness of oil drilling in LA through petitions and online resources that offer advice and at-home ways to make a difference.
Growing up in a Los Angeles neighborhood, Kevin Patel experienced first-hand the effects of climate inequality in his home. After he was diagnosed with heart palpitations caused by the poor air quality in his neighborhood, Patel decided to take action and spread awareness of the health risks associated with the decreasing climate quality. Patel is also in the process of launching his startup organization called One Up Action. The organization will train young people on how to become the next generation of leaders in climate activism.
While not a local Californian, Martinez came to USC last year to promote climate activism. The eighteen-year-old indigenous Colorado resident speaks at the frontlines of the youth climate activism movement. Martinez spoke to the UN General Assembly at Rio+20 summit on sustainable development. He has also worked on a local level to reduce pesticide use in parks, improve the disposal process for coal ash and protest fracking on his ancestors’ land. Currently, he is serving as a lead plaintiff in a youth-led lawsuit against the federal government. He, along with his supporters, are calling out governmental inaction in protecting future generations from the terrifying effects of climate change.
Youth vs. Apocalypse offers young people a platform to share their passion and awareness of climate change with a larger audience, offering younger generations to be heard. Their mission is “to lift the voices of youth, particularly youth of color, and fight for a livable climate and an equitable, sustainable, and just world.“ As a group, they have spearheaded a variety of campaigns including the Green New Deal, No Coal in the Bay, DivestCALSTRS, Protect CA from Big Oil, BlackRock’s Big Problem, Don’t Dredge in SF Bay and Climate Strikes.
Right here on campus, senior Kayla Soren stands out among the crowd, leading the climate activism movement by example. Soren founded the International Student Environmental Coalition (ISEC) in 2016. The nonprofit organization works to spread global awareness on climate issues by tackling issues right here on campus. Now active in 30 countries, her organization encourages students to work where they are, and with the resources they already have, to influence global climate policy. Soren received the Truman Scholarship in recognition of her environmental activism.