From Activist to Environmental Activist

Jun 15, 2018

By Jason Atwood, LCV Communications Intern

At LCV’s annual Capital Dinner in Washington D.C., Field Organizer Morgan Lovell stepped up to the microphone to put an exclamation point on a remarkable evening.

Lovell began by discussing her roots. In the small town in North Carolina where she grew up, environmentalists were few and far between. On the other hand, political activism, was a huge part of her childhood.

“From an early age, my parents instilled in me the importance of personal and collective action.  If there was an election, there was no choice but to vote.”

Whether it was at the local, state, or federal level, her father drilled in her the importance of voting.

“In a place where very few people looked like my family, voting meant our values, experiences, and perspectives were represented.”

Lovell translated those activist roots into a degree in political science, but she initially had trouble breaking into politics. It wasn’t until Kay Hagan’s Senate campaign that Lovell finally began organizing as a career.

Eventually, attracted by its emphasis on grassroots organizing and activism, Lovell began working for Climate Action North Carolina. However, Lovell didn’t immediately consider herself an environmentalist. Everything changed when she became aware of the widespread environmental injustices across her home state.

“When I realized that polluters were causing unnecessary and unjust suffering, that made embracing environmentalism urgent to me.”

She became aware of the devastating impacts of coal ash and smog on communities across the state. She witnessed the irresponsible behavior of the oil and gas industry, and she discovered how deep-seated racial inequalities were disproportionately harming communities of color. The evidence was overwhelming.

“As I learned these things, it became clear—climate change and pollution were having real impacts on people I cared deeply about.”

Lovell recognizes that the environmental movement has often had trouble reaching communities like her hometown, and she’s intent on fixing that problem. For the last two years, Lovell has worked with people of color and youth in Charlotte, having conversations about climate change and the environment, and hoping to inspire a new wave of environmental activists.

You know what I’ve found?  These North Carolinians want to know more about these issues.  They want to know how they can get involved.”

This desire to become involved is by no means limited to North Carolinians, as there is a national urge to learn more and make a difference. Through programs like Climate Action North Carolina, there are young leaders all across the country who are a part of the Conservation Voter Movement and are seeking to make lasting change in their own communities.

This gives me hope.  With all of us working together, our future can be one where everyone has access to clean water and clean air.”