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Azaria Mendoza | Pueblo, Colorado

Azaria Mendoza | Pueblo, Colorado

“Growing up, I could see smokestacks near my house that filled the entire sky with clouds. The power plant was planned in a predominantly white community, but the people of Denver rallied and said that it was unsafe. Xcel Energy moved it two hours south to my predominantly Hispanic town—Pueblo, Colorado. The company was aware of the health risks and offered the community free energy and jobs in exchange. The city took it. After ten years or so, the company stopped giving free energy and rerouted the jobs. Now my hometown is experiencing pollution and destruction from this power plant without anything in return.”

Kayla DeVault | Appalachia

Kayla DeVault | Appalachia

“There is cultural damage because of climate change. People talk about loss and damage a lot in traditional climate dialogue spaces, but it’s always controlled by Western thought and Western methodology. They talk about people being displaced by storms. But, for Indigenous people, when we get displaced, we’re not just displaced from our homes, we’re also displaced from our homelands, our way of life, place-based spirituality, and all the things that are ingrained in our cultures and traditions. Maybe people who get displaced in a place like Miami will miss their home if it flooded, but it’s not the same as someone who has been in their community for thousands of years, from places where their ancestors are buried or where their landmarks stand. If we have to move, it’s irreversible cultural identity loss and damage. Removed tribes suffered that once already, like the Shawnee, through federal policy in the 1800s.”

Jacob Lebel | Roseburg, Oregon

Jacob Lebel | Roseburg, Oregon

“Last summer, there were two weeks where it was so smoky we couldn’t see blue sky. That has never happened in my life. I didn’t notice how intense it was until it was dragging on and on, there were barely any days when it got lighter. We had to wear particle masks. It’s extremely bothersome on a farm. It’s scratchy. It’s hot. Finally, I started to see blue sky again. I was so thankful. But, then I thought, ‘The way things are going, it’s probably going to be worse next year.’ As wildfires get more severe and common with climate change, the chance of our farm being in the target area, the burn area, increases more and more every year.”

JAYDEN FOYTLIN | RAYNE, LOUISIANA

JAYDEN FOYTLIN | RAYNE, LOUISIANA

“The night the flooding happened, I wasn’t the person who noticed. I was asleep because it was midnight. I have a sister who’s a year older than me and stays up. She was on her computer when she noticed flood water coming under her door. She moved her electronics then woke up my oldest sister. When there’s rain, it goes downwards to the back of the house. My room is at the back of the house and it got worse back there because the house isn’t level.”

KARINA CASTILLO | MIAMI, FLORIDA

KARINA CASTILLO | MIAMI, FLORIDA

"The environmental movement has been predominantly white for a long time. It’s really important to bring new voices, new faces, and new colors to the movement. It’s the Hispanic populations, the Latino populations, and the African American populations that are already seeing the impact of climate change. They are living closer to oil and gas operations, and closer to toxic chemical facilities. The only way that we’re going to get movement and action is if we address this inequality and hear the stories of those directly impacted."