Alexandria Villaseñor: “We can’t do this alone”
“Every day, my generation is becoming more united in our demand for a complete and equitable transition to a clean-energy economy — and we’re proud to join forces with the adults out there who aren’t afraid to tell it like it is.”
You may recognize my name as one of the climate activists that spoke at last week’s Democratic National Convention or as one of the leaders of the #FridaysForFuture strikes.
But the truth is my journey to where I am today began when I was 13 and visiting Davis, California when the devastating Camp Fire broke out. Even though the closest flames were 100 miles away, smoke was seeping into the house where I was staying. I have asthma, and it felt like needles were pinching my lungs when I tried to breathe.
My family put me on a flight back to New York that night. By the time it was all over, 86 people in California died and 30,000 more lost their homes in the fire. It was the deadliest in the state’s history. Scientists say bigger and bigger wildfires like this will happen more and more often if we don’t act boldly to stop the climate crisis. Even as you read this, California is once again engulfed in smoke and flames, as more than 1.2 million acres have now burned. It’s been just two years since I experienced Camp Fire’s destruction firsthand, and already the LNU Lightning Complex and SCU Lightning Complex are now the second and third largest fires in California state history.
After what I saw, I started reading and making the connections between climate change, droughts, and wildfires. I reached out to Greta Thunberg on Twitter and learned more about her #FridaysForFuture strikes. Soon, I sat outside the United Nations building in Manhattan every Friday as a small act of civil disobedience. Missing a few days of school was a small price to pay to draw attention to this crisis. After all, what’s the point of studying for a future that’s being taken away from you for big polluters’ profit?
My strike got the attention of Governor Jay Inslee, who, at the time, was running for president to put climate change at the top of America’s agenda. He joined me for some of my strikes, and I hit the campaign trail to share my story as he shared more of his plans to defeat the climate crisis.
Two years later, I’m proud to continue his mission as a member of Evergreen Action’s Advisory Board. And today, I’m asking you to join me:
Every day, my generation is becoming more united in our demand for a complete and equitable transition to a clean-energy economy — and we’re proud to join forces with the adults out there who aren’t afraid to tell it like it is.
We can’t do this alone. It’s going to take all of us. So I would love to see you on board and ready to take Evergreen Action, too.
Evergreen Advisory Board Member