6 Young Climate Heros - The Years Project

6 Young Climate Heros

By Emily Sauchelli

Photo: Cassidy Jones

Young people around the world are working every day to fight climate change. Here are six youth leaders making an impact in their communities.

1) Clara Nevins – Los Angeles, CA  

Eighteen-year-old Clara Nevins is currently a senior at The Marlborough School in Los Angeles, CA. At her high school, she founded the organization, Change Climate Change which spearheaded her passion for activism. She is working to help young people find their voices and participate in the political process. Clara focuses on teaching the youth how to have effective discussions about politics. She has been instrumental in creating local and international groups. In 2016, the Los Angeles native co-founded Bridge the Divide, a youth-led initiative that works to unite students who are politically active in an effort to promote conversation amongst youth. The organization has grown to represent youth in 30 countries. As a result of her activism, Nevins participated as a youth delegate at COP21 for the National Resources Defense Council in Paris, France.


2) Daisy Kendrick – London, UK

Daisy found her love for the ocean through an internship with the United Nations. At the internship, she dedicated all her energy to conservation efforts on the island of Grenada, off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago. From her experiences at the UN, the twenty-four-year-old was inspired to create WATO (We Are The Ocean), which is now called Ocean Generation. The organization’s goals are to provide resources to developing island states, take action to eliminate plastic, and educate communities on how to increase the lifespan of oceans. Daisy is using music, gaming and technology as methods to increase awareness for the organization and its mission. For example, Daisy worked with Rovio Entertainment, the creators of Angry Birds, to create a game that raises awareness about the problem of plastic pollution in the ocean. She is a graduate of Northeastern University in 2016, with a degree in International Relations and a focus in Pre-Law.


3) Xiuhtezcatl Martinez – Boulder, CO

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez (his first name pronounced ‘Shoe-Tez-Caht’) has been an advocate for climate change since he was 6 years old. In 1992, his mother Tamara Roske founded Earth Guardians. Earth Guardians is an organization that works to inform society about the effect that climate change is having on our future. Earth Guardians’ mission is to remind society that the power to create change is in their hands. In 2013, Xiuhtezcatl received the United States Community Service Award from Barack Obama and was one of the youngest people chosen to serve on Mr. Obama’s youth council. Now, 18-year-old Xiuhtezcatl serves as the Earth Guardians Youth Director and continues to speak at colleges and venues across the globe urging those to act on climate.  Xiuhtezcatl is also a plaintiff in the ongoing lawsuit against the federal government for not doing enough to protect young people from climate change.

4) Alec LoorzOak View, CA

Alec Loorz founded the organization Kids v. Global Warming with his mom, Victoria, in 2010. A year later, Alec was one of several teens who sued the federal government for not taking action against global warming. Kids v. Global Warming has since changed its name to iMatter. IMatter is a youth climate action program which works to provide training and skills necessary to go out and be active in the climate change community. Now 22, Alec Loorz is a spiritual ecology fellow with the Kalliopeia Foundation, and is working towards producing a feature documentary about his life as a young activist.

5) Ben May – Mt. Sinai, NY

Ben May hails from Mt. Sinai, NY on Long Island. In 10th grade, he created the Environmental Outreach Club at his high school and has been driven by his passion for the environment ever since. His goals were to create recycling programs and initiatives for the school to become more environmentally friendly. In high school, he was also a part of global efforts such as the Sea Youth Rise Up Campaign and the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit. Both of these organizations promote ocean conservation efforts. In 2016, through Sea Youth Rise Up, Ben along and other youth leaders from around the country met with Barack Obama’s Council on Environmental Quality. After discussing an area of ocean near Georges Bank off the coast of Cape Cod, President Obama designated it as as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. At eighteen, Ben May is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania and double majors in mathematical economics and international relations with a minor in environmental studies.


6) Erin Schrode – Marin County, CA

Erin Schrode began her environmental advocacy work creating Teens for Safe Cosmetics with her mother, Judi Shils, in 2005. The organization, with the same mission, is now called Turning Green. Turning Green is a global student-run movement aimed at creating a healthy planet which begins when making healthy choices in all aspects of life. One of Turning Green’s projects is Conscious Campus, which host events at colleges to help teach student how to be green on campus, from from food choices to energy use on campus.  Another project, Conscious Kitchen, which partners with schools to make meal services more healthy and sustainable. Turning Green engages students in all 50 states, 48 countries and over 3,000 college campuses. Erin graduated from New York University with a degree in Social and Cultural Analysis, and in 2016 was the first woman to run for Congressional office in her home county of Marin, CA. At twenty-seven-years-old, she is working as the COO of World Central Kitchen alongside the founder, world-renowned chef, José Andrés, to bring thousands of meals to Puerto Rico.