Inheriting the Mantle of Tomorrow: Youth Climate Activism is Transforming Our Future

As a member of the Bioneers community, you frequently hear and learn from leaders on the frontlines of local, national, and global movements of dire importance. These are individuals who rise up for justice and a brighter future, even as many of the obstacles they face seem, at times, insurmountable. When we ask these leaders what gives them hope for the future, we often hear the same response: the resilience and vision of young people – and the power of intergenerational partnerships to drive change. Youth leaders and activists, having inherited a world warped by their forebears, are taking matters into their own hands and realizing incredible progress.

This week, we highlight the next generation of leaders and the inspiring movements that they’ve built.

9 Inspiring Bioneers Youth Leaders Share Their Knowledge

For many young people, it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is the end of the systems that exploit the planet at the expense of future generations. With their futures on the line, youth are inspiring hope, kindling a generation of changemakers and leaders. In this article, we highlight just a few of the incredible next generation of movement activists who are taking on the mantle of leadership.

Read more here.

Youth Climate Justice with Nalleli Cobo, Alexandria Gordon, & Alexia Laclerqc

Young people are prime movers of social change, and the values and skills they absorb in their formative years impact our collective future. Nurturing youth leadership helps sow the seeds for a more regenerative, sustainable, and equitable society. Three inspiring youth leaders, Nalleli Cobo, Alexandria Gordon, and Alexia Laclerqc are a few of the incredible leaders inheriting the mantle of tomorrow. 

Nalleli Cobo – On the Frontlines of Environmental Injustice: Standing up to Urban Oil Drilling | Nalleli Cobo began her journey as a youth activist growing up across the street from an oil drilling site in Los Angeles. As her family and neighbors suffered from health problems as a result, Nalleli marched to the frontlines of a growing movement of youth climate justice leaders. 

Alexandria Gordon – The Power of Young People | With a seemingly insurmountable mantle defined by climate change, systemic racism, and corruption, youth activists are leading the movement to pave a path toward a sustainable future. Alexandria Gordon, a winner of this year’s prestigious Brower Youth Award, shares her experiences as a young person working to create a world that can work for everyone.

Alexia Leclercq – Climate Justice Must Be Social Justice for All | Building a sustainable climate justice movement means centering the needs of the communities at the nexus of intersecting violences. Environmental justice organizer and one of this year’s Brower Youth Award winners Alexia Leclercq shares her passion for these rarely discussed aspects of intersectionality. 

Our Power: Exemplary Young Activists—the 2021 Brower Youth Awards Winners

The Brower Youth Awards, named after the late, legendary environmental giant, David Brower, are one of the most prestigious prizes for youth activists. These young mobilizers, organizers, and paradigm-shifting leaders discuss their activist trajectories, the challenges they face, and their aspirations for the future.

Watch here.

Youth-led Campaigns to Follow & Support

Start:Empowerment | Social and environmental justice education non-profit implementing a justice-focused education and programming in schools and community spaces to achieve social-environmental justice and liberation for all.

Apache-Stronghold | A nonprofit community organization resisting colonialism by building a better community through neighborhood programs and civic engagement in Arizona. 

Zero Hour | A movement of young people acting on the urgency of climate change, Zero Hour is coordinating a march and advocacy day in Washington D.C. 

Youth vs Apocalypse | Oakland-based org of diverse climate justice activists working together to lift the voices of youth for a livable climate and an equitable, sustainable, and just world. 

March for Our Lives | Born out of the Parkland tragedy, March For Our Lives is a youth-led movement dedicated to promoting civic engagement, education, and direct action by youth to eliminate the epidemic of gun violence.Sunrise Movement | A youth movement to stop climate change, end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on our politics, and elect leaders who stand up for the health and wellbeing of all people while creating millions of green jobs.

Music Video – “Remember” by MaMuse featuring Claudia Cuentas

Inspired by traditions of folk and gospel, MaMuse is a musical duo comprised of Sarah Nutting and Karisha Longaker. Interweaving brilliant and haunting harmony with lyrics born of honed emotional intelligence, MaMuse invokes a musical presence that inspires the opening of the heart to nurture love and inspire. In their latest song, “Remember”, MaMuse collaborates with Claudia Cuentas, a Peruvian artist whose work explores trauma, Indigenous knowledge, decolonization, and healing.

Watch here.

Chacruna Religion & Psychedelics Forum

The Religion and Psychedelics Forum will feature three days of panels and discussion exploring the role psychedelics may have played in the history of religion, as well as the role that religion plays in the modern psychedelic renaissance. Take a multidisciplinary and intercultural approach, this forum will examine important questions around mystical experience, Indigenous spirituality, religious freedom, and drug policy, and how psychedelics intersect with both Eastern and Western religious traditions.

Register here.

What We’re Tracking:

  • From E&E News: “Fighting for my future’: Teenage climate activism takes off” | A student coalition in Indiana is inspiring landmark climate legislation to confront the climate crisis. 
  • From Mother Jones: “The Oil Industry Is Terrified of College Kids” | Harvard University’s decision to stop investing in fossil fuel companies was heralded as a win in the fight against climate change. In this interview from Mother Jones, Connor Chung, one of the students behind the movement that led to the historic decision, talks about the role of climate finance and divestment.
  • From The Lawrence Hall of Science: “Lingering Concerns & Signs of Hope for Nation’s Outdoor Science Programs” | Despite outdoor learning being an ideal environment for students during the pandemic, a new policy brief from the Lawrence Hall of Science found that millions of children have missed out on enriching outdoor science education. 

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