Welcome to our Series „Humans of Climate Action“. This series is dedicated to uplifting non-European Climate activists.
This interview is with Maya, from New York, USA.
Maya is active with FridaysForFuture.
You can read the German transaltion of this interview here.

1) Can you tell us something about yourself? (Name, Age, are you working, a student, …, where are you from?) 

My name is Maya. I am 16 years old and I am from New York, USA.

2) Can you tell us a bit more about your personal motivation for participating in this movement?

I joined the climate movement because the climate crisis directly affects my generation’s future. Even if we lower our carbon emissions by 45% in 10 years we still only have a 50-67% chance of limiting global warming to 1.5C. The chances of my generation having a livable future are very slim so I want to make sure I do everything that I can to protect my future

3) What is your role in the #SchoolStrikeForClimate in your country?

I do media for Fridays For Future USA and I’m the co-founder of my local Fridays For Future chapter (FFF Long Island)

4) What is the movement like in your country? (e.g. Are there many people/towns participating?)

FFF isn’t as big in the United States as it is in other countries. Within the United States we also have other climate movements as organizations like Sunrise, ThisIsZeroHour, and Youth Climate Strike and we all work together to organize the strikes
FFF doesn’t have as many local chapters as the other movements and organizations and we don’t have as many people as they do but we’re working on growing our movement and getting more people involved in FFF.

5) What do you love about your region (What’s beautiful in the nature around you?, What do you like about your culture and society?)

What I love about the United States is that, because it is such a huge country, the environment is so diverse. The USA has palm trees and warm weather in California, beautiful mountains in Tennessee, the Grand Canyon in Arizona, and the beaches in Southern Florida. You can find all kinds of nature in the USA.

Sketch of New York City

6) What is the most serious environmental problem in your region? Are your government, the society or big environmental organizations working on solutions for this problem or is the problem just getting bigger without anyone changing anything?

In the United States, climate change affects everything. On the coasts, the sea levels are rising so much that the government has to invest extra money to raise the roads and houses. In the center of my country, the droughts and rising temperatures are negatively impacting agriculture and farming.
But in the United States, the government isn’t doing anything to act on climate change because so many of our politicians receive funding from fossil fuel companies that no climate legislation can ever be passed.
And on American television, we see news anchors telling an audience of millions that science can not be trusted and that the climate isn’t changing and that it’s all a hoax.
The misinformation being spread in the media and the politicians being backed by fossil fuel money are the main reasons why the United States has the largest carbon emissions per capita in the world

7) What was the most successful action you participated in or heard about to protect the environment? (can you explain, what was special, what you learned from it and how you feel about this success?)

So far, the biggest step in the fight against climate change I’ve seen so far was the Global Climate Strike in September. Hundreds of thousands of people in the United States came together to demand climate action from our government.

8) What are the talents and abilities you provide for a better world?

I’d say that I’m good at problem solving and finding creative solutions to certain issues

9) What’s your vision for our planet, our nature and us humans in 2050. Do you think, it’s realistic?

By 2050, I’d want the USA to become fossil fuel free and have a have net zero carbon emissions. This is, after all, what we need in order to prevent global warming from reaching 1.5C. I’d say that this is a very ambitious goal however it’s still attainable if we spend this new decade focusing on climate action

10) Anything else you want to tell us?

The issue of climate change in the USA is very different from Europe. In the USA, we aren’t arguing about what’s the best way to stop climate change. The people in my country are still arguing about whether climate change is even real or not. We’re not on the same level as the European countries.
The American fossil fuel companies have turned the climate debate into a political one. People on the left are supposed to believe that climate change is real while people on the right are supposed to believe that it’s not real. By intentionally making climate change a political debate, fossil fuel companies have ensured that nothing will ever be done about climate change.
If we want to solve the climate crisis within the USA, we need to stop making climate change a partisan issue. All of us across the political spectrum need to work together.

You can follow Maya on Twitter: @MayaArengo

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