I am proud to be part of a generation, Gen Z, of young activists raising our voices and speaking out to make sure our we put our environment first and take climate action now!
It is becoming abundantly clear now that we can no longer ignore the impacts of our actions on the planet. This summer, we are seeing the effects of climate change in real-time as well as the news, photographs, and personal stories of those suffering from environmental degradation. Sometimes it is difficult to fathom what I can do as a single person to combat environmental issues around the world. It can feel like the problems are too great to face, and the solutions are not within reach. However, working at Clean Water Action, I’ve learned that when we fight from the ground up and act on the concerns of our communities, we can make meaningful changes.
Greetings to everyone reading! My name is Uzoma Adichie (she/they), and I’m a communications intern at Clean Water Action in Massachusetts and National Clean Water Action. I’m studying Environmental Studies at New York University, and I know that I want to work in environmental policy and urban planning for environmental justice.
I’m interested in environmentalism because of the ways that environmental injustice disproportionately impacts low-income communities of color. In these communities, I see people that I know and relate to. Community-based activism and policy are so essential to me because of this. We can change our habits to be more sustainable, but policy and legislative actions are necessary to tackle the issue on a larger scale. This summer with Clean Water Action, I’m taking real-world action - from attending hearings to creating member communications about state actions— and I’m learning more about what it takes to win environmental campaigns.
This summer, I’ve been able to attend multiple hearings regarding our bills to ban toxic PFAS chemicals. It’s exciting to see the progress we are making day by day. Attending the Toxic Free Kids legislative hearing this past June was a big learning experience for me. The bill bans toxic PFAS from children’s products, requires manufacturers to disclose toxic chemicals added to children’s products, and sets up a structure for evaluating chemicals and banning the most harmful chemicals from continued use in children’s products. I finally got an inside look at what it means to implement environmental justice using evidence, law, and our voices. Listening to peoples’ personal experiences with environmental injustice makes all of the work worth it. Political work does not have to be fruitless, and working with Clean Water Action has helped me find the value in that.
If you want to support Clean Water Action and all we do to address environmental injustice everywhere, please take action! To support actions to ban PFAS, such as the Toxic Free Kids bill, tell your legislators to turn off the tap and support and co-sponsor bills to stop PFAS and other toxic chemicals from getting into our bodies and the environment!
You can also visit our website to support numerous other initiatives. These issues are right in our backyard, and we can use our voices to defend our planet and our communities. National widespread issues can be difficult to tackle with limited resources, but when enough of us take smaller steps, we can achieve large goals together and work our way up to win the big changes that we need.