Meet Jamie Margolin, the Youth Climate Activist Changing the Way We Address Global Warming
Jamie Margolin is a youth activist against Climate Change. At 16, she started the nationwide environmental movement This Is ZeroHour. Her new book, Youth To Power, will come out in 2020.
ZeroHour recently launched a new campaign called “Getting To The Roots of Climate Change”, where you teach that the main contributors to climate change are “Capitalism, Racism, Sexism, [and] Colonialism”. These are all phobia-fueled social, economic, or political practices, and don’t seem to be very related to the environment.
What’s the logic behind these attributions?
“This is what the grassroots movement & indigenous organizers have been saying for a very long time: if you don’t address these massive systems of oppression, you’re just going to keep ending up screwed. Einstein called the definition of insanity trying the same thing with the same thinking that caused it.
Colonialism is following the mindset that ‘everything in the earth is mine’, and [the colonialist] genocide of indigenous women and culture only leads to more environmental degradation.
Racism, if you look at it, the most people who are affected by climate change are communities of color.”
You are very focused on fostering diversity in Environmental activism. Can you please explain to our readers why it’s so important?
“Anyone who is worst affected by an issue should [be able to] tell their own personal stories. The burden of marginalized communities is linked to the climate crisis. Diversity’s important not to be fair, but it’s essential for survival.”
You are writing a book, Youth to Power, which is coming out in 2020. What will it be about?
“It’s everything a young activist needs to know about getting involved. I get so many messages like ‘how do I start?’. I’ve had experience in this field and there are so many mistakes I’ve made… it’s the ultimate guide to being a young activist.”
If you could talk to any lawmaker in the world right now about the environment, who would it be, what would you say, and why?
“I would talk to Joe Manchin and Mitch McConnell. Joe Manchin is the only Democrat that is pro-coal and anti-climate change… I’d explain to him about why his community would benefit from a transition to renewable energy.
To Mitch McConnell, I know you’re under a lot of pressure right now, and I know that you have a couple grandkids. If you love them, you would take action on climate and you would set aside the corporate greed. I don’t believe that you love them right now with the way that you’re acting.”
What actions do you suggest to our readers who are ready to take action to save the planet?
“Organize in your community. Is there a park that’s going to be destroyed? Are they planning a pipeline nearby? We’re not going to recycle our way out of this. Research environmental organizations and ask them to get involved.”