Allie C., 17
Chicago Youth Alliance for Climate Action & Sierra Club IL
How did you first get involved with community organizing?
I was interested in climate change and I went to a Chicago Youth Alliance for Climate Action (CYACA) educational meeting my freshman year of high school. After attending several meetings and becoming more involved, I started collaborating with other high school students to take action. Our mission is to educate students about climate change, engage political officials in grassroots climate efforts, and empower youth to make impactful changes in our community.
How did you get involved with the Sierra Club and the RF100Chi campaign?
Caroline Wooten (Sierra Club IL’s organizing director) gave a presentation at one of CYACA meetings and I immediately wanted to get involved. I ended up going to volunteer meetings which is where I met Kyra (RF100 Coordinator). I love the hands-on approach and analytical thinking the collective meetings require. We get out maps, sticky notes, and make some doodles.
What do you think our biggest challenge to getting to 100% clean energy is?
Letting go of the existing political and financial infrastructure surrounding our current energy system. Dismantling the current fossil fuel energy system to make way for clean energy is what I think our biggest challenge is.
What’s your biggest win as an organizer?
The Chicago Public Schools Director of sustainability agreed to submit a proposal we drafted for solar energy throughout CPS. It felt like a big accomplishment and that something meaningful is possible.
Where do you plan on taking your organizing skills in the future?
Next stop is my college campus. I want to get involved in environmental justice movements in Providence. Rhode Island has one of the best state wide sustainability programs. I want to get involved in how those are being implemented.
Why is climate change organizing important to you?
Environmental justice organizing and the climate change movement are the big equalizer. Climate Change is supposed to affect humanity the same but it doesn’t because of societal inequalities. Working in this movement is a way to advocate for justice in every part of society.