Destiny Loyd: Supporting youth climate advocacy
By Alex Amonette
Destiny Loyd began her relationship with Citizens’ Climate Lobby as a college student in Athens, GA. She says, “At school, I would be speechless learning about climate change, and wondered why it seemed that no one was doing anything about it?” She started looking for solutions. “I found CCL by Googling ‘climate groups,’ and there was CCL—I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect result! I joined CCL’s weekly introductory call on a Wednesday evening and was inspired to hear all the voices of people across our country on the call.”
Soon, she was connected with her local CCL chapter and began doing outreach at tabling events and presenting to student and community groups. She even attended a regional conference and served as a liaison to her member of Congress. She says, “The rest is history.”
Today, Destiny serves as the Southeast Regional Fellow under Clara Fang, CCL’s Higher Education Coordinator. As of January, Destiny is also a Legislative Fellow in CCL’s D.C. office, working with Andres Jimenez, one of CCL’s Senior Directors of Government Affairs.
In these roles, Destiny works with students of all ages, supporting and guiding their climate advocacy. Whether they’re becoming “campus leaders” at their university, working to educate their schools, parents, teachers, and school boards about climate solutions, Destiny is there to help. She recently helped the Engaging Youth Action Team and Presenters Action Team launch the Youth Presentation Starter Kit, available here.
Why young voices matter
“Climate change poses an unprecedented threat to young adults and youth because we will be the ones having to bear its consequences now and for the rest of our lives. Already, in my hometown we have lost young lives to extreme heat while participating in their after-school extracurriculars,” Destiny explains. “If we want solutions to come to fruition, we have to make sure young people are visible to decision-makers and that their voices are being heard.”
And young people often receive a positive reception. “Decision-makers are often impressed to see students civically engaged,” Destiny explains. “The sooner students are aware of the way decisions are made and who makes those decisions, the sooner their voices can be a part of the important conversations that will have a significant bearing on our lives.”
Destiny notes that many young people are not yet aware of large-scale solutions, but they’re starting to take local action and willing to learn more.
“I have provided middle and high school students with a space where they can talk about what climate change actions they are working on locally. We talk twice a month and discuss what CCL actions they can take. It has been phenomenal. They are doing amazing work where they are. I look up to these young students. They get it, and they do what they can at such a young age.”
Youth Presentation Starter Kit project
Destiny helped organize and host the recently held CCL “Youth Are Rising” webinar that featured 8th grade climate activist Franklin Wu. Franklin gave a passionate presentation and recap of his outreach activities in his school and community using the Youth Presentation Starter Kit. The kit was developed by CCL volunteers Sharon Bagatell, Lisa Del Buono, David Cain and Todd Elvins, among others.
Sharon Bagatell said, “We want youth to give presentations in the next few months using the Starter Kit. It has a huge impact on adults to hear young people and their passion. It is also a wonderful thing for young people to have their voices heard.” The kit has been in a pilot phase, and now, the teams and Destiny are now working to get the word out about it and have many more young people using it.
Franklin’s voice certainly was heard through his presentation. He said, “After the presentation, people were more favorable to the fact that climate change is real. The audience was friendly. I felt good about sharing the information on how global warming is affecting our lives now and in the future.” Giving this presentation helped him feel empowered to do more. Next, he plans to work with his city council to get a climate resolution passed.
How youth can take climate action
Destiny offers these suggestions for youth who want to get involved with meaningful action to mitigate climate change:
- If you are new to CCL, join the weekly CCL introductory call.
- Reach out to your local CCL chapter and ask if they can use an intern. Chapters can create their own internship positions.
- Attend a CCL regional conference or the annual June Conference and Lobby Day in D.C.
- Join Destiny’s biweekly call. She explains, “It’s a place for young people to connect with other young climate activists, learn about efforts in their districts, and coordinate group efforts. Contact me by email. I will email you back!”
- Explore leadership opportunities—CCL offers lots. Destiny says, “College students can apply to become a Campus Leader, where they start their own CCL campus group and hold regular meetings on campus. They can organize outreach events in their own districts, partner with their local CCL chapters, and participate in lobby meetings.”
And don’t forget, being in CCL means you always have a strong network of support around you. Destiny’s own network includes Susan Adams, the Third Coast Regional Coordinator; Clara Fang, CCL’s Higher Education Outreach Coordinator; Sharon Bagatell, co-leader of the Engaging Youth Action Team; Cary Ritzler and Gail Gill, who co-lead the Athens, GA, CCL chapter; Don Addu, Southeast Regional Coordinator; Stephanie Burns, Alexandria Chapter Leader; and Todd Elvins, CCL’s Action Coordinator.
“It’s an honor to work with all these supportive and dedicated CCLers,” Destiny says. We’re sure the youth working with Destiny feel the same way!