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Gen Z Activists On What's At Stake: 'The Climate Crisis Doesn't Effect Us All Equally'

Climate justice activists Jayola Reid (left) and Jade Lozada. (Courtesy)
Climate justice activists Jayola Reid (left) and Jade Lozada. (Courtesy)

Members of Generation Z are some of the most passionate believers when it comes to fighting for action on social justice, but also on climate change. It’s partly because some feel the causes they care about are deeply connected.

That’s what teenage climate justice activists Jayola Reid and Jade Lozada of New York City think. Both have embraced their own personal stories to fight for progressive change to protect the environment.

They join host Tonya Mosley to share some lessons they’ve learned along the way.

Watch on YouTube.

The Worst Crime

By Jade Lozada

The worst crime I know men have committed is to turn nature into an oppressor.

I tend land; concrete gorges in Earth, pillared steel and brick,

burdenless and guiltless below its sky — the first witness and

last native to this island

at the joint of the ocean’s palm and the Hudson’s stretch

into us. An exodus from the diaspora for sins

of skin darkening for lack of sun and barren pockets.

Somewhere, we search for home. So we bleed joy into summers

enclosed in our beating heart labyrinthine barrios.

The croon of a singer who never kissed his mother’s land goodbye

laces and tangles treetops in the night,

glides into the southern current of the sea,

waters the pores of my concrete.

Cascading lyrics from our windows return

in lush plátano leaves on the sill.

When our words melt into English arroyos,

pavement, that mutilation of Manhattan island,

breaks open nature’s bounty: Grotesque, undulating heat

reverberates from asphalt, ricochets off brick

into the heartbeat of car stereos;

Diesel clouds halo above us;

Toxins pumped from Earth’s troves poison our breath.

Of their sear on our skin, their imprint on our lungs,

their toil in digging deep graves for early deaths.

Here lies the fate of the first natives:

To be mutilated as someone’s ancestors

mutilated Manahatta — razing forest,

burying water with families,

forcing brown bodies thereafter

to swallow oceans in order to taste home.


This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration of more than 400 news outlets committed to better coverage of the climate crisis. This year’s theme is “living through the climate crisis.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.