What is the moment that you decided to work towards climate justice?
Issues of environmental and racial justice have always felt very tangible to me growing up in an industrial Midwest city and seeing the impacts of corporate greed on our air and water quality. My hometown was nicknamed “The Mistake on the Lake” (Cleveland) because the Cuyahoga River lit on fire in the 70s from being so polluted. To this day, the beach closest to one of the most racially and economically segregated parts of our city still has pollution levels so high that children cannot even play on the sand near the water after days that it rains.
Recently, as a new mother to two small children, the impact of climate change has hit home in new ways too. Particularly, the impact on fireflys: Growing up, I remember the magic of running around marveling at fireflies that descended up on our yards as the dusk fell. We would try to catch them in our hands, and watch them light up small spots of darkness around the neighborhood. I recently realized I was no longer seeing as many fireflies in the summers. It turns out that firefly populations are waning due to climate change: light pollution, an overuse of pesticides, and pollution.This small reflection of the damage being done to our earth hit me hard as a new mother of two small children. I want them to grow up experiencing the magic of the world. Night skys filled with fireflys. Will my grandchildren even know that magic? What other measurable and immeasurable damage is being done to our home and to the earth I am leaving for my children? This small but powerful realization feels like a new grief. I realized I need to act now or who knows what kind of quality of life I will be leaving for my children.
What’s your favorite place to be?
My favorite place to be is surrounded by nature in summer somewhere, especially in the deciduous forests of the Midwest and northeast.
When you were a kid what was your favorite activity?
I loved swimming as a kid. I would survive the summers by spending all day every day at the pool.