Hi everyone, Spiffy here, your one and only interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth. I’m thrilled to be talking to an entrepreneur working to make the world a better place for youth and the environment! Chloe Holloway is the founder of Minorities in Climate Action and is passionate about educating, inspiring, and activating youth to protect the environment and change the world. Are you ready to be enlightened?
Spiffy: Well, Chloe, I’m thrilled to be talking to you today. Can you tell me about the challenges you’re addressing through your start-up?
Chloe: Thanks so much for having me, Spiffy! As you might know, climate change is a pressing issue that is impacting so many lives around the world—and the climate crisis is only worsening. On average, marginalized communities face more environmental burdens than others. For example, three out of five African Americans live near toxic waste facilities but only 2.8% of environmental degree awardees are Black. Minorities in Climate Action seek to diversify the climate movement by bringing more Black and Brown youth into the field through education and innovation. We seek to provide environmental education to youth from communities on the frontline of the current crisis and provide micro-grants to help our students start their own environmental solutions!
Spiffy: Oh wow, this is stellar, Chloe! What motivated you to do this?
Chloe: When I was 15, I heard an amazing poem by an environmental activist named Xiuhtezcatl Martinez. In the last line, he mentioned what you are going to tell your children when the earth was falling apart. Even though I was a child myself I took that line to heart and that day sparked a passion in me that is unexplainable. However, when I was in high school, I didn’t know where to start or what programs were available. That is why I started Minorities in Climate Action—to reach people who have that spark and want to take action to fuel that spark. I want to create a space that not only provides diversity for youth environmentalists but is also a place where they can act on the ideas they always wanted to make a reality.
Spiffy: How would you say your organization is working towards creating a more equitable world?
Chloe: Minorities in Climate Action (MICA) is currently working on two projects. Right now, we are organizing for our Summer 2021 Program which is a three-month experience where . In the first month, we teach different environmental topics. In the second month, our interns gather people in their community and create a team. The last week of the program our interns take everything they learned over the summer with the teams they built for the chance to win micro-grants to start their own local environmental project at our Environmental Justice hackathon. The second project we are working on is called, “Eat Our Waste”, where we take different bugs and bacteria to eat trash in live-science demonstrations in elementary and middle schools during the academic school year.
Spiffy: Wow! Now that is something I’ve never heard about! Can you tell me about a recent milestone you’ve achieved? What kind of impact has it had?
Chloe: Sure, Spiffy! One recent milestone we have achieved is getting dozens of applications from around the world for our summer program. We’ve heard from people in Puerto Rico, Tanzania, Bangladesh, and many more! We are very excited to create a global climate movement that our interns can have fun engaging with this summer. Another milestone is being accepted into the Millennium Fellowship. Being able to meet different people from the United Nations Academic Impact department really inspired me to educate others in my own field. Not to mention the friends I have made globally who are all working on making the world a better place.
Spiffy: Do you think you can share about an experience when you faced failure and didn't give up. What did you learn from failure?
Chloe: Due to COVID-19 it was hard to reach the communities that I was targeting for Minorities in Climate Action’s programs. In the state that I am from, kids had a hard time transitioning to online school, making it very hard to get schools involved with the program. I learned that community is everything. By reaching out to different youth organizations I was able to build connections in places I have never thought of before. Since the programming went virtual, it was able to expand MICA into a more global community which has helped my organization a lot.
Spiffy: That’s amazing! Before we sign off, is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Chloe: Nothing is impossible. Literally nothing. That is the beauty of creation. We as humans have so much power to create things beyond our imagination. That is what I told a student I tutored once. He was very into science and he would have the craziest ideas. I would always encourage him to pursue those ideas. Many times, in scientific history, people did not believe certain things were possible but time and time again they were proven wrong. So, if you guys have an idea that seems a bit wild, pursue it and never give up.
Spiffy: I agree 100%! Thanks for showing us how to do that, Chloe! I can’t wait to see the ripple effect that your work is going to have! It’s been an honor speaking with you!
Chloe Holloway, founder of Minorities in Climate Action, is a student at the University of Pittsburgh where she studies economics and environmental studies. Chloe is on the Student Government Board as a Diversity and Inclusion Committee member. She is also a poet and is writing her first book, “Stop Stealing My College Fantasies''. (Nominated by Millennium Campus Network)
© 2020 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Jill Landis Jha. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s stories of founders building a more equitable world at www.ladderworks.co/blogs/spiffys-blog