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

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you'll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

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