By Mikaela Foehr May 11, 2022

At Defend Our Future, May always means our last month with our treasured campus ambassadors, but this year May comes with two meanings. Yes, we will sadly have to say goodbye to this class of ambassadors, but May 2022 also happens to be the climate push of our lives.

These next few weeks are critical in the environmental community’s fight to get the climate and clean energy investments we need to truly protect our future. With our partner organizations in Arizona, DC and beyond, the last few weeks our ambassadors have on their campuses will be filled with action to mobilize young people to speak up on climate.

In the coming weeks, we will have click-to-call, honk & wave, and petition delivery opportunities for many of you in our network. We strongly encourage everyone to take whatever action they can to tell their Senators that the moment is now – we need to make these climate, environmental justice, and clean energy investments before it is too late. We will keep you all informed on these opportunities to take action as they come.

Before I get to the future opportunities, I naturally have to highlight the wonderful work our ambassadors are continuing to do – even while they are balancing final exams! Last week, the University of North Carolina Greensboro team was busy, putting on two different events for their campus community. On May 2, campus ambassadors Chris Gilly-Forrer and Michael Zsiga hosted a Save Our Fashion event on Zoom in partnership with a local thrift shop, Thrift Chic Boutique, and their school’s costume studio. The event, which drew about 10 attendees, focussed on ways individuals can be sustainable within their own wardrobes. To this end, the speakers shared tips for upcycling old items, buying quality clothes that will last, and where you can donate clothes when you don’t have the time or skill to update them.

Michael and Chris also put on a Finals Week Relaxation & Meditation event for their fellow classmates. Taking time to center and calm yourself is important for everyone, not just students experiencing the stress of finals. That being said, it is especially important for student activists to take that mindfulness time because of the intersections of academic stress and eco-anxiety. So thank you to our UNCG team for helping their classmates unwind – and for inspiring the rest of us to do the same!

On that note, some of our campus ambassadors from Arizona State University and the University of Arizona (Saiarchana Darira, Josh Tashoff, and Logan Murphy) hosted an Instagram live to talk about youth involvement in climate action and how important it is for young people to speak up. We hope you were all able to join us to learn about how these students have grown as ambassadors and what their hopes are for the future (getting climate, clean energy, and environmental justice investments passed), but if you weren’t able to you can still find it on our Instagram. We are incredibly proud of these students who stepped up to share their hopes and concerns with our network and strongly encourage you all to watch and learn about Logan, Saiarchana, and Josh who have given so much both to our program and the climate fight.

In Texas, our University of Houston Downtown campus ambassadors Cedrick Darden and Paytience Smith were able to meet with Rep. Lizzie Fletcher’s office (TX-07) to talk about the priorities of their generation. Paytience and Cedrick talked about the Biden Administration’s Justice40 initiative and the House-passed climate and clean energy investments which are critical in securing a healthy, sustainable, and equitable future for younger generations. Although the current climate moment is focused on the Senate, speaking with your representative is still a great way to reiterate priorities that you as a constituent want them to prioritize, and to thank them for acting on those priorities.

As Paytience and Cedrick reiterated to Rep. Fletcher, as our Arizona ambassadors said during their Live, and as I have already in this roundup – we are at a critical moment in the climate fight. We need climate and clean energy investments to pass Congress, and we can’t do that without the sustained activism of our entire climate network.

On that note, here are the upcoming Defend events we would love to see you at.

  • Defend is hosting a Honk & Wave with Climate Action Campaign in DC on May 17! We will be on the corner 1st and D St NE from 8:30 to 9:30 AM advocating for climate legislation to all the Senate staffers on their way to work. Rest assured coffee and pastries will be provided.
  • Defend will also be hosting another Instagram live on May 18 with Campus Ambassador Saiarchana Darira, speaking on the issue of eco-anxiety and how we can care for ourselves while also caring for the planet. We will let you all know the time when we have it locked in.
  • Finally, Regional Organizer Nick Haas will be tabling at the Portland Climate Festival on May 20! We are very excited to get the word out about Defend and how young people can participate in the climate movement, and we also promise great photos from the festivities.

Make sure you are following our Instagram (@defendourfuture) so that you don’t miss out on these opportunities! Our team will continue to put our all into advocating for equitable climate solutions, and we hope you will join us however you are able. Here’s to fighting the good fight.

Warmest regards,
Mikaela Foehr