Environmental Justice

kelly environment

The natural environment which nourishes us all and within which we organize for transformative social change is itself collapsing. As we envision a future where our people not only survive but thrive, we’re cognizant of the need for robust organizing to keep fossil fuels in the ground, develop alternative energy sources, and care for our ecosystems. At the same time, we know that those most disproportionately affected by the structural violence of climate change are often peoples of color, indigenous communities, immigrants, folks from the Global South, trans and queer people, and those targeted by predatory voracious capitalism. As we struggle to promote environmental conservation, Young People For also commits to challenging advocates to adopt an environmental justice framework which addresses the multidimensional experiences of those living at the intersections of systems of oppression. In the service of this vision, Young People For has supported and sponsored Fellows to bring youth power initiatives to international climate change negotiations, leverage research skills to map environmental racism in their own neighborhoods, and organize food justice workshops in under-resourced communities.


An example of environmental justice activism can be seen in 2010 YP4 Fellow Marisol Becerra’s fight to expose coal plants’ negative effects on her community of Little Village, Chicago.

Many thanks to People For the American Way Foundation staff for their help in the shaping of this issue area. Photo of 2013 Fellow Kelly Meza Prado working on her greenhouse-project Blueprint in Peru.


The Giving Garden

In keeping with her long term strategy towards integrating her hometown and university, Erica was inspired to take action to
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The Akili Initiative

Through her Blueprint Katherine Warren founded The Akili Initiative, a student movement that seeks to build the next generation of
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Sustainability at SMU

Jessica’s Blueprint tackled the issue of environmental issues and awareness at Southern Methodist University by empowering students to make more
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Sustainability at DePaul

Inanna worked to create a sustainable, eco-friendly environment at DePaul University with established University organizations and her Student Government.
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Recycled Paper Only

Simeon Tally, Emily Ellis, and Kyle Yurkovich built a more cohesive progressive movement on campus by running a campaign to
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denovo project

The “denovo project” Blueprint was designed to provide low income and struggling families access to healthy food through the vehicle
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Midwest Conference

As an advocate of student voice in university decision making processes, Phy built a campus coalition of sustainability organizations to
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Green Corner Toolkit

After graduating from Hendrix College, Elana began working with the Applied Sustainability Center at the University of Arkansas as an
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Food Justice for Brandeis

Through her Blueprint project, Marisa worked to change fellow students’ personal decisions and her campus food supplier, Aramark’s, service to
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Earth Week

During Earth Week, Nekpen Osuan, Christine Lenihan and Sara Sommers hosted a plethora of events over the course of a
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Diversity at Middlebury

Jay co-authored a thesis, The Analyst and the Activist: Discourse Surrounding Wall Street Recruitment and Resistance at Middlebury College, which
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Carbon Neutrality at Pomona

Pomona College Fellows worked with their campus administration to develop a timeline for achieving carbon neutrality. They established an academic-activist
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