Education is crucial to tackling the climate crisis, says Margot Brown, vice president of environmental justice and equity initiatives, Environmental Defense Fund. She notes that is going to involve preparing students and workers for the green jobs of the future.
WorkingNation sat down with Brown at the ASU+GSV Summit in San Diego.
Brown says young students need to understand how the green sector connects to their own places in the environment.
As part of her work with the EDF, Brown says undergraduate and graduate students are connected to frontline and fenceline communities – via the Community and College Partners Program (C2P2) – to provide pro bono assistance to address environmental justice issues.
“We’re growing this whole new cohort of students that are really able to work with communities in a way that they understand the context, the complexities, systemic racism, and all the things that come along in that space. It makes them become better listeners and think through how to address the climate crisis with a justice and equity lens.”
Brown says as a 16-year-old, she was member of her high school environmental club. These days, she is optimistic about the progress made around environmental issues.
“The growth that we’ve seen is amazing. It’s not just the growth of the individual, it’s the growth of organizations. In the past, the Environmental Defense Fund thought of justice and equity as sort of a piece of its work, but not being integrated into the fabric of the organization. What they’ve come to realize is in order for them to be a viable entity in 20 or 30 years, it’s imperative – that part of our purpose is to integrate justice and equity into our work.
Learn more about the Environmental Defense Fund.