100 Women We Love: Class Of 2019

Haven Coleman

Photo by Nicole Coleman

Climate change is one of the most urgent issues of our time, and yet many of us, including elected officials, won’t be the ones to deal with the more drastic global effects. It makes sense, then, that the young who inherit our world are taking action today. Leading the charge is 13-year-old Haven Coleman, a climate activist and co-founder of the US Youth Climate Strike, a global movement which, in March and May of this year, organized two day-long school “strikes” for student demonstrators to demand action be taken on climate change. Coleman and other leaders hope that the strike will foster young people’s engagement with environmental issues and force legislatures and policymakers to affect change now rather than later. Her activism began when she was 10 and started to learn about the consequences of climate change. However, the activists she saw leading the charge were nothing like her. “All I could see were mostly cis, male, straight people leading the movement,” she says. “I was sad that the LGBTQ community was not seen in my work, not in the leaders of organizations.” Rather than accept the status quo, Coleman decided it was time to take action. In addition to founding the climate strike, she speaks about social justice and environmental activism at schools across the country with the help of Climate Reality Project. She also collaborates with other environmental action groups like the Sierra Club, Sunrise Movement, and 350.org. While saving the world is a lonely task, especially when legislative action is slow, Coleman wants those who care about enacting responsible change to know they are not alone. “It may seem like it, but you are not. The climate fight, every fight in this world, has people like you. You may not see them, you may not know that they are even like you, but we are here.” —RK

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