This is Zero Hour. How Young Climate Activists Are Making Their Voices Heard.

“Enough is enough. We, the youth, believe that #thisisZerohour to act on climate change.

By Raye Mocioiu


Young climate activists are done waiting for adults to get on their side about environmental issues. They know that they are the leaders they have been waiting for, and they are ready to protect their right to the clean, safe environment they need.

In comes Zero Hour – a movement started by Jamie Margolin, Nadia Nazar, Madelaine Tew, and Zanagee Artis. These young activists were frustrated with the inaction of their elected officials and the way young voices get ignored continuously, especially when it comes to the conversation around climate change. In the summer of 2017, Jamie Margolin gathered several of her friends to start organizing a movement.

They planned to arrange a day of mass action, led by youth. They knew that this movement would allow young voices to be loud and clear for elected officials and adults.

Within months, young activists from across the country joined the team, thus creating Zero Hour. With the help of like-minded partners, the Zero Hour team devised a way to make sure that the right to a safe, healthy, clean environment is protected for the youth of today and tomorrow.

Youth Heroes

The access to information the youth have today is insurmountable. Young people are keenly informed on countless issues, especially when it comes to threats to our planet and their future. Young climate heroes, acknowledging the potentially dire situation, are stepping up, speaking out, and holding the older generations accountable for the damage done to the planet.

The leadership of today’s youth is endlessly important, as they know that they have inherited a crisis that they did not create. They strive for a solutions-based approach, addressing the real needs of communities across the country and around the world.

The Zero Hour vision includes individuals from every community having access to clean air, water, and public lands. The needs and health of communities are more important than corporate gain. By harnessing the power of leadership by the youth of diverse backgrounds and experiences, the future looks safer and brighter for all of us.

Getting To The Roots

Climate change impacts all of us, but the impact of the crisis is vastly unequal. Communities around the world have been directly affected by climate change, some to a far greater extent than others. Zero Hour believes that those closest to the problem are also closest to the solution. That’s why they started the “Getting to the Roots of Climate Change” campaign. As explained in their platform, Zero Hour plans to educate communities around the world about the systems of oppression that they name as root causes of climate change. These roots include Capitalism, Racism, Sexism, and Colonialism, and how “these systems can intersect with climate movement to form climate justice” (from ThisIsZeroHour). The plan is to improve public opinion regarding the newly proposed Green New Deal in the U.S. Congress, focusing on creating equity for marginalized communities. Moreover, this campaign seeks to bring more people into the climate crisis movement, and educate the masses about what climate change is.

This is Jamie Margolin

Jamie Margolin, an 18-year-old from Seattle, started Zero Hour in 2017, after meeting a group of like-minded teenagers at a political summer camp at Princeton University. That summer, Margolin was inspired to start Zero Hour in reaction to her personal experience during the Washington wildfires, and the response she saw after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. She then recruited Mrinalini Chakraborty, the head of strategy for the national Women’s March, which was a huge inspiration to Margolin. Chakraborty began to assist students with filing for permits and planning logistics.

In late 2019, Margolin was part of a youth group that sued Governor Jay Islee and the State of Washington over greenhouse gas emissions. She was asked to testify against them, as part of the “Voices Leading the Next Generation on the Global Climate Crisis” panel. As part of the panel, teenagers involved in climate change were able to make their voices heard on the subject of the Washington Government’s lack of climate action. These young activists were concerned that the lack of tangible climate action denied the younger generation the right to a clean and liveable environment.

Margolin is definitely no stranger to sharing her activism. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, People Magazine, Teen Vogue, HuffPost, and CNN, among others. She strives to center young voices on the frontlines of the climate crisis, making sure that it is handled in a way that doesn’t leave underprivileged communities behind.

“So much love, hard work and labor has gone into this. I wrote this book so you all would be able to easily access information about organizing and activism, this is the book I wished I had when I first got involved.”

YOUTH TO POWER, a guide to being a young climate activist & organizer, comes out worldwide JUNE 2nd 2020 in paperback, audiobook, and ebook formats.

© Mitch Pittman

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