This is Zero Hour. Will you march and lobby?
By Jamie Margolin
I’m a 16-year-old environmental activist. I am the founder of a national youth climate action movement called Zero Hour. We are gearing up for the revolutionary Youth Climate Action Weekend this summer.
- July 19 – Youth will lobby our leaders on Capitol Hill for common sense climate action.
- July 20 – Youth will build art for the movement and build community among ourselves.
- July 21 – Youth will march on Washington because #ThisIsZeroHour to act on climate.
The main goals of our movement and this summer’s events are:
- To capture the national and international conversation on youth and climate change.
- Create a global sense of urgency around the climate crisis.
- Uplift the voices and stories of youth from frontline communities who have already been affected by climate change.
- Have our politicians pledge to stop taking money from the fossil fuel lobby—that is what we are lobbying for on July 19.
- Educate the public on exactly what needs to be done and when for us to survive the climate crisis.
- Empower youth and the general public to pressure their local leaders into taking radical and urgent climate action.
I work tirelessly—about five hours every single day on this movement, along with a team of high schoolers from all over the country. I sacrifice time with friends and family, sleep, and sometimes time that should have been spent studying for school for the movement. I am the definition of an overworked high school activist trying to make waves—and so are most of the youth on the team. When people take a peek at my Google calendar, full of conference calls for Zero Hour, they often tell me to relax and slow down. They tell me to do just do my homework and trust that the climate crisis will fix itself.
But I know better. I work so hard, sacrifice so much, and am leading a revolutionary movement because #ThisIsZeroHour to act on climate change. As a young person, I have waited almost my whole life for the adults I thought were going to solve the climate crisis to do so…and so far, the condition of our planet has only gotten worse. That’s why I am leading Generation Z in stepping up and calling an end to business as usual once and for all.
Since the first Women’s March back in January of 2017, I had a vision of youth all over the U.S. and the world marching for urgent climate action. At that time, I was already a community organizer—I had been an organizer since I was 14, fighting for common sense climate change solutions in my home state of Washington. However, I was still fairly new to the organizing world and was nervous to take on the enormous task of starting a mass mobilization. And so I suppressed that vision and continued to do local environmental organizing.
Then, the summer of 2017 happened. I was at a month-long Political Speech and Communication course at Princeton University for high schoolers in July. It was the first time I had spent such a long time away from my family. I was on the other side of the country, surrounded by politically engaged high schoolers. By that time, I had much more community organizing experience. That was also a summer full of natural disaster after natural disaster, and thick smog that covered Seattle thanks to stronger-than-usual wildfires up north in Canada.
That was when I finally decided to take the plunge.
I had a social media friends, like Nadia Nazar, who were also willing to take the plunge. Madeline Tew and Zanagee Artis also joined, who were friends from Princeton camp, are now two core team leads. For a while, we did tons of visioning and brainstorming, struggling to find our footing.
Soon we brought on some adult mentors, like Mrinalini Chakraborty, a Women’s March co-founder, and Laura Sanders from D.C. Local Ambassadors, who guided us in the right direction.
We reached out to frontline communities who we knew had to be at the center of the movement, like some of the youth from the Standing Rock tribe who famously let the #NoDAPL fight, who were excited by the idea.
Since then, we’ve expanded into a full-fledged organization. We are not a movement that happened overnight. It took grueling hours and hours every day of slow but gradual movement building, and it still does.
Our team of youth leaders and adult mentors are more than just a collective—we have become a movement family. This vision depends on people like you willing to support and uplift youth by making this vision your own. We would love for you to join our family and come write the next chapter of our story together, as we plan our Youth Climate Action Weekend in Washington, D.C.
How you can support the youth:
- Buy Zero Hour merchandise
- RSVP to lobby with us (25 & under only)
- RSVP to march with us (all ages)
- Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and share with your followers.
Jamie Margolin is a 16-year-old writer, community organizer, activist, public speaker, and sophomore in high school. Jamie is also a plaintiff on the Our Children’s Trust Youth v. Government lawsuit in her home state of Washington, suing her state for their active worsening of the climate crisis. When she isn’t trying to save the world, Jamie can be found reading, blowing her eardrums out listening to music, and drowning in homework.