WHO WE ARE
Youth Vs. Apocalypse is a diverse group of young climate justice activists working together to lift the voices of youth, in particular youth of color, and fight for a livable climate and an equitable, sustainable, and just world.
Youth leaders are supported with networks, training, logistical assistance, and intersectional analysis in order to allow them to fight powerfully for themselves, their communities, and the planet.
- Youth have the ability and right to be leaders in the fight for climate justice. The role of adults in this program is to support youth in their leadership.
- Science is real, and is to be taken seriously. The October 2018 UN report states that we have until 2030 to make radical changes in order to prevent uncontrollable climate damage.
- Youth Vs. Apocalypse was named very intentionally. The current climate crisis we are facing mirrors that of an apocalypse.
- Fighting for climate justice means fighting for racial and economic justice because our current climate crisis is rooted in racism, white supremacy, and economic exploitation.
- We focus on uplifting voices of color and voices of people from frontline communities because we recognize the systemic silencing of those voices and want to empower those communities to take action on climate justice issues. We recognize that the fight for climate justice cannot be won without these voices.
- We believe every person can contribute to the fight for climate justice. Youth Vs. Apocalypse is a safe space for youth who are not usually encouraged to use their voices. Youth Vs. Apocalypse strives to make space for youth to inspire and connect with each other.
- We recognize that our climate crisis is a symptom of the exploitative and extractive way our society treats people and the earth, and we look to indigenous, traditional, and resilient communities for models on how to live sustainably and with integrity.
- By coming together as young people, we can change the fabric of society. We want our society’s values to be centered on compassion and fairness— both of which are vital to fighting climate change.
- Youth Vs. Apocalypse strongly supports and fights for the Green New Deal, including the resolution introduced by Rep. AOC and Sen. Ed Markey. We need Green resolutions that take urgent climate action with an intersectional approach.
- Youth Vs. Apocalypse started as a group of passionate young people fighting against the placement of a coal terminal in West Oakland. We believe that local battles for environmental justice impact our global fight for climate justice.
Currently, Youth Vs Apocalypse operates with multiple levels of youth engagement. YVA staff provide classroom and program presentations as the initial way of engaging youth, and focus on youth empowerment and opportunity for collective action for climate justice. Last school year, YVA served about 600 youth through these presentations, and are positioned to present to up to 5000 students in the Bay Area if we are able to secure adequate staffing.
Staff members provide weekly support, mentorship, and opportunities for community action for school-based clubs at underserved middle and high schools. Last year, we had 6 of these clubs, we already have requests for at club support at 12 more schools.
YVA also offers a fellowship program for youth who wish to gain specific skills, connections and analysis. Last year this program served 20 youth leaders ages 11-18. These fellows have helped organize major mobilizations such as the March 15th climate strike and gotten significant media attention.
Decision-making and organizational direction happen through the Youth Lead Circle, a group of 10 experienced youth activists who are deeply engaged with the group and its goals. The Youth Lead Circle works directly with a circle of adult supporters and accountability partners that includes:
Cory Jong, OUSD teacher
Simone Delluchi, OUSD community relations coordinator
Sarah Crowell, ED of Destiny Arts
Pennie Opal Plant, activist with Idle No More and other groups
Armando Davila, climate justice activist
Kristy Drutman, founder of Brown Girl Green
and Mara Tobis, parent of YVA member Isha Clarke.
The four campaigns YVA focuses on are: Green New Deal, Stop Coal, Truth To Power (testifying at Bay Area Air Quality Management District and other public hearings), and Divest CalSTRS. In these campaigns we collaborate with Idle No More, Communities for a Better Environment, Youth Together, New Voices Rising, Girls Inc, Jewish Youth for Community Action, Earth Guardians, Climate Workers, Sunrise Movement, 350.org, the Sierra Club, Fossil Free California, and No Coal in Oakland.
Due to the urgent need to include diverse youth voices in pushing for solutions for our current climate crisis, we are seeking conversations to explore ways to increase our capacity building resources to dramatically expand our in-school programs. We are hoping to develop the capacity to work with a quickly growing group of youth leaders by hiring two additional full-time staff, as well as securing our current program coordinator at least a half-time salaried position. Any recommendations of people or organizations YvA should be in conversation with would be most appreciated.
Q: How can I join YVA?
A: YVA does not have a membership structure. People are involved in different ways. Here are the ways to work with the group:
- take action on a campaign
- join a planning call
- come to actions
- join a school-based club
- join the fellowship
- represent our points of unity
People can join the lead circle once they have been actively leading with YVA, and are agreed on by consensus of the prior members.
Q: Who makes decisions for YVA?
A: The lead circle makes decisions about targets, demands, and points of unity.
Q: Who speaks on behalf of YVA?
A: The lead circle designates spokespeople for actions. Anyone who represents the points of unity, acts based on an intersectional analysis of climate justice, and works with YVA in one of the above ways can identify as part of YVA when they speak.
Q: What are YVA’s community agreements?
-Respect & Listen to everyone’s voice
-Take Space/ Make space
-Take care of yourself/ communicate boundaries
-Challenge oppressive social dynamics through kindness
-Call “in” and repair don’t retreat
-Be open to constructive criticism
-Respect people’s cultures
-Respect the space
-Take healthy risks