With the United Nations’ 26th annual climate change conference–aka COP26–happening in Glasgow, Scotland this week, we thought it was the perfect time to re-air Abby’s conversation with environmental activist Varshini Prakash. Varshini is the executive director and co-founder of the Sunrise Movement, a youth-centered climate activist group that’s helped bring the climate crisis to the forefront of national politics in the United States. The organization has made a name for itself by coordinating confrontational climate protests and popularizing the Green New Deal. Back when Abby interviewed Varshini, nobody would have predicted that two Democrats (Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona) would bring down President Biden’s plan to implement sweeping progressive policies nationwide. Still, Sunrise is not letting the President off the hook: on October 20, five Sunrise activists began staging a hunger strike outside the White House, demanding that he take executive action, in spite of legislative obstacles. After 14 days without food, they ended the strike, when President Biden promised a 50% decrease in emissions by 2030.
Tune in for an inspiring conversation about the determination of younger generations to lead, and the power of grassroots movements to address the climate crisis.
Co-founder, Executive Director of Sunrise Movement
Varshini Prakash is the Executive Director and co-founder of Sunrise, a movement of young people working to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process through the Green New Deal. Varshini has been a leading voice for young Americans, including when she helped lead a mass demonstration for the Green New Deal with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that went viral and put the climate crisis at the top of the political agenda for the 2020 elections. Varshini’s work has been featured in the New York Times, MSNBC, The New Yorker, BBC, The Washington Post, and more. In 2019, she was named to Forbes 30 under 30 list for law and policy, and TIME 100 Next, a new list of rising stars who are shaping politics, popular culture, science, and more. Varshini currently lives in Boston, MA.
Follow Varshini Prakash on Twitter: @VarshPrakash