Big Oil, Big Heat, Big Problems: Part III from the Frontlines of Climate Change in California

The Youth Are the Future

by Tessa Levine

The climate is changing, and people around the world can feel it. Fossil fuel infrastructure — like refineries and oil fields — is not only part of climate change, it is deeply impacting local communities. In the last blog of our series, we’re sharing two stories from young Californians on the frontlines of the fight for climate justice.

Valeree Catangay marching with This Is Zero Hour.

“People gonna rise like the water

Gonna calm this crisis down.

I hear the voice of my great-granddaughter

Saying: Keep it in the ground.”

On Aug 14th, storytellers living on the frontlines of oil and gas drilling and climate change came together aboard the Arctic Sunrise in Long Beach, CA, to share their stories of struggle, hope, and resilience. It was a moving and intimate evening. The majority of the storytellers were young people — who spoke of their childhoods growing up in the shadow of the fossil fuel industry and of what it means to come of age and move into adulthood as an activist.

Here are two such inspiring stories.

The first is Valeree Catangay, a first-time storyteller who grew up in a heavily polluted neighborhood in Long Beach, California.

Also joining us was Kelsey Juliana, the named plaintiff in Youth vs. Gov., and a powerful activist and educator.

It was an incredible evening, and we’re lucky to be able to share these stories with you. The youth are the future of this movement, and the future of our planet, and it’s an honor to uplift their wisdom. Want to watch the whole thing? You can check out a recording of the whole event here:

There’s still a chance to get involved in pressuring Gov. Brown to be a true climate leader. Sign the petition!


By Tessa Levine

Tessa Levine is the Digital and Organizing Specialist for Greenpeace's work related to Browns Last Chance and the Global Climate Action Summit.

We Need Your Voice. Join Us!

Want to learn more about tax-deductible giving, donating stock and estate planning?

Visit Greenpeace Fund, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable entity created to increase public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through research, the media and educational programs.