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.