These 5 People Are Bringing Equity to the Fight Against Climate Change

These environmental justice advocates are ensuring marginalized communities are at the center of the fight.

Grist/Elsa Mengistu/Adrien Salazar/CEERT/Adam DeTour Photography/Todd Youngblood

This story was originally published by Grist. It appears here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Climate change doesn’t discriminate, but systems created by people do. Policies and other decisions put some closer to the frontlines of disaster than others: communities of color breathe more toxic fumes, people with disabilities have no easy way out of increasingly common natural disasters, and women and children are at a higher risk of dying from the effects of climate change.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Every year, Grist compiles a list of emerging leaders—the Grist 50—working toward a sustainable, equitable future. Meet five environmental justice advocates from this year’s list who are challenging those biased systems, righting wrongs, and ensuring that marginalized communities are at the center of climate solutions.

  1. In Charlotte, Sol Nation founder Nakisa Glover turns community members’ art and conversation into on-the-ground change.
  2. Huron, California, Mayor Rey León builds new green infrastructure in his rural, predominantly Latino farming town.
  3. 17-year-old Elsa Mengistu works with youth climate movement Zero Hour to center marginalized youth voices—after all, they’ve got the biggest stake in the fate of the planet.
  4. Like the Green New Deal? You’ll love Adrien Salazar‘s even more progressive plan for New York, which would direct state funds toward neighborhoods that need it most.
  5. Rev. Mariama White-Hammond opened her own church in Boston to foster connection between communities, in the environmental justice movement and beyond.

Excited about the future? There’s more where that came from.

More Mother Jones reporting on Climate Desk

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate