Zero Hour's Ivy Jaguzny on the Urgency of Climate Justice and Vote4OurFuture

#TTMVoices

Zero Hour (#thisisZeroHour) is a youth-led, climate justice movement, that provides a platform for young leaders and environmental activists to advocate for climate policy and raise awareness of the impacts of the climate crisis in local communities. The Teen Magazine had the opportunity to chat with Zero Hours' press lead Ivy Jaguzny on the movement's 2020-21 goals and the Vote4OurFuture campaign, in light of the 2020 U.S. Presidential elections.

A Youth-Led Climate Change Movement

Since it is future generations that have to bear the brunt of the impact of climate change, it is imperative to have young people on board to raise awareness of environmental degradation. Waiting for important legislation to pass, waiting for elected officials to take action, and waiting for corporations to accept responsibility for climate change is inefficient when the climate clock (7 years, 75 days) is ticking.

Ivy outlines Zero Hours' purpose as a youth-led movement:

Our purpose is to uplift the voices of frontline youth to show everyone the urgency of the climate crisis. We want our leaders to see this crisis for the threat that it is and confront it, since there is 'zero' time left. We're a movement demanding immediate, systematic, and far-reaching action on climate change.

Regarding her own experience joining Zero Hour, Ivy describes the transition from her state-level work in her home state of Washington, fighting for clean energy and climate action, to Zero Hour as a “breath of fresh air.” Often times, she grew frustrated when adults were not seeing the urgency in addressing the climate crisis as she did, but at Zero Hour, she was surrounded by young people who understood the future implications of inaction. “Youth uniting under this issue is super powerful, and that's why I joined,” Ivy says.

Climate Justice and Vote4OurFuture

Regarding Zero Hour's 2020-21 goals, Ivy mentions two important ones: Climate Justice and the Vote4OurFuture campaign, in collaboration with the National Children's Campaign. Elevating climate justice as a #1 issue in the United States and worldwide is important, since “it is the biggest, irreversible threat we face and it impacts everything.”

Zero Hour works to shift the global conversation and the nation's attention towards climate change as a justice issue since everyone should have access to “clean water, air, and public land” without lasting negative consequences.

The second goal is “getting eligible youth and underrepresented communities to vote in national, state-wide and local elections” via Zero Hour's main campaign, Vote4OurFuture. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the campaign has gone digital as it aims to mobilize voters in Pennsylvania and Michigan to “turn out for issues that matter to them.”

Zero Hour contributes by educating communities on the Green New Deal (a contentious topic in the U.S. Presidential elections) and on environmental issues that will impact these communities. Pennsylvania and Michigan were chosen because these two states are known to have bad air quality and are impacted by fossil fuel development.

For our American community of writers and readers, Ivy has an important message:

This 2020 election is the most important election of our lifetime and it will affect how we deal with the climate crisis for decades to come. To the youth who are eligible, your vote matters. Elections can be won or lost by only a few votes. To everyone else who can, please, please vote. Vote for your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews. Vote so that they have a shot at a future that isn’t devastated by climate change.

Zero Hours' Future

Zero Hour has organized a broad range of initiatives from 2018-2020, be it educational campaigns, summits, marches and strikes, and social media campaigns. Examples include the 2018 'Youth Climate March in Washington D.C.' and the 2019 'This is Zero Hour: The Youth Climate Summit in Miami, Florida,' both of which received a lot of praise in raising awareness for climate change and its impact on frontline communities.

Regarding Zero Hours' future, Ivy says:

I hope we get the chance to work more closely with elected officials to craft radical policy on climate change. I hope our ideas as young activists are taken more seriously when it comes to real solutions to this crisis. I hope we continue to be more involved in the civic process, as well as our educational and awareness initiatives.

On the big takeaways or life lessons she has learned from being part of the movement, Ivy stresses the importance of staying positive, despite all the hurdles that have to be crossed in order to influence meaningful change. “Our job is to shift climate change conversation towards being productive. Even if you feel as if you're not making progress or that your voice is not heard, it's important to realize that you're not alone and that the work you do is really important.”

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Nehaa Bimal

Editor · 28 edited articles · 9 pitched topics · 25 writers helped

A former reporter and Entertainment editor for her high school newspaper, Nehaa Bimal has loved writing since she was little. She is interested in slam poetry, natural photography and singing and has travel experiences she’d love to share! Nehaa will be heading to college in the Fall to major in Journalism & Humanities.


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