My Wave of Climate Activism

Dec 17, 2019

By Jennessa Agnew, Deputy National Director, Member Mobilization|By Jennessa Agnew, Deputy National Director, Member Mobilization

Growing up, I spent as much time as I could at the beaches in New Hampshire and Maine. Summers came and passed, and I began to notice that each year the tide was staying longer and growing further up the sand, but I wasn’t sure why.

As I grew older, I understood that climate change was to blame for the rise in sea levels and the devastation of the beaches where I once played. Stronger storms fueled by climate change would sweep in and leave coastal communities flooded, impacting local business owners and communities living along the shoreline. The more I learned and saw the impacts, the more concerned I became. But, I felt like climate change and environmental protections weren’t a part of the conversation, especially from leaders in public office. Burning fossil fuels has contaminated our air and water, and has resulted in the climate crisis that has caused extreme weather and flooding in coastal communities like mine in New Hampshire and others all across the country. To address this crisis, climate change needs to be a part of the conversation, and we need elected officials to take action on a bolder and on a grander scale across the nation. 

When I heard that LCV’s Climate Action program was working across the country to elevate the urgency of acting on climate change, I knew that I needed to get involved. I started going to beach clean-ups and before I knew it, I was spending my weekends getting my neighbors involved to advance climate legislation and encourage elected officials to take action. While volunteering, I had hundreds of conversations with people in my community about climate change. These conversations encouraged me to do more; I made climate organizing my full time job. After I joined LCV as an organizer, my community and I built a statewide network of support for solutions to address climate change and a base of climate advocates that were raising their voices for change. With volunteers, we worked to secure more renewable energy, protect public drinking water from contaminants, and protect communities and businesses along our coasts from sea level rise. 

Since 2015, I’ve been working with LCV to advance climate progress and encourage members, like you, to take action to address the climate crisis. Now, I lead our national Climate Action program, which works in communities across the country, and I get to work with incredible organizers who are leaders in their communities and are connecting people with opportunities to to elevate the urgent need for climate action with their lawmakers. 

Everyday, we hear from people who are seeing the impacts of climate change firsthand — stronger hurricanes in North Carolina, record setting heat in Nevada, rising sea levels in New Hampshire, and the raging wildfires that are burning across California. The impacts of climate change are happening right now and we know that communities of color and low-income communities are hit by the impacts the hardest. And LCV’s Climate Action program is committed to elevating the racial disparities of climate impacts and building partnerships with community groups, helping to bring our voices together so we can reach decision makers with a clear message. 

It is more important than ever to push leaders at all levels of government to make progress. We need more environmental advocates to stand up for their communities and fight for climate action with us. And we can’t afford to wait. 

We all need a planet that we can live on — one with clean water and air, clean energy for all, and ambitious plans to address climate change. Please join me in building this climate movement together.