With so many young people back at school, now seemed like as good a time as any for me to introduce myself to the Defend community. So, hello! My name is Adrienne Cooper, and I’m the new Director for Defend Our Future. Nice to meet you!
I’m new to this role, which I took on over the summer, but I’m not new to Defend. I worked as the Deputy Director for two years prior, and my familiarity with the great work students are doing across the country was a huge part of the reason I was so excited to take on this new challenge. Earlier this summer I had the incredible honor of meeting with student leaders from across the country who came to Washington, DC to meet fellow leaders and share ideas at Defend Our Future’s National Climate Leadership Summit. They also shared with me their powerful personal stories about why they were acting now to solve climate change and make their voices heard, on campus and in their community.
I also have the privilege of working alongside some of the most dedicated and talented people I know.
Due in large part to the actions of the Trump Administration and its allies in Congress, we are reminded on a seemingly daily basis of the challenges we face at home and abroad. From the nomination and confirmation of Scott Pruitt as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, America’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, to proposed budget cuts to the EPA and the rollback of the Clean Power Plan, our efforts to advocate for our health, the environment and our communities is more important than ever.
So, we at Defend Our Future are resolved to work even harder to protect our progress. We have rolled up our sleeves and hit the ground running to harness newfound activism spurred by November’s election. We are mobilizing students and other young people to fight the attacks against science, the EPA and the safeguards that protect the water we drink and the air we breathe. Our campus organizers are diligently working to highlight the local impacts of climate change on unexpected aspects of our lives, hosting events such as Defend Our Beer, Defend Our Air and Defend Our Pets – just to name a few.
Defend is also engaging with diverse constituencies and organizations, locally and nationwide, that share our values of environmental justice and goals of finding solutions that empower people who live in vulnerable communities impacted by climate change, pollution and other environmental and public health risks. We’re collaborating with student leaders from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Voto Latino, Mic.com, celebrities and many others to show our elected leaders the power and diversity of a movement that is fighting to protect our planet.
Young people across the country are standing up and making their voices heard. We saw, and many of us stood side by side, at the Women’s March, March for Science, People’s Climate March and so many other calls for action to demonstrate our resolve. At Defend Our Future, we are doing our part to help mobilize this new generation of climate and environmental justice leaders. What sets Defend apart among its peers in the environmental community is that we are truly a nonpartisan initiative – we engage students, elected officials and influencers regardless of where they stand on the political spectrum. We welcome all voices to the conversation because, even if we do not always agree on the solutions, we know we won’t ever begin solving the problem of climate change unless we are working together.
Americans didn’t vote for dirtier air and dirtier water last November. This powerful message resonates with our supporters and our audience and, together, we are demanding policy makers stand up to injustice and fight for the health of the people they were sent to Washington to represent.
Right now, I am asking you to join me in taking action. Please take a few minutes to contact your representatives (we make this part as easy possible!) and let them know that you want them to protect our communities and find solutions to address climate change.
I hope that you will join me. Together, we will stand up for our values and the future of our planet.