Hana Razvi is a 19-year-old youth climate activist from Brookfield, WI who serves as an ACE Action Team Lead. Learn more about ACE Action Teams and how to join or create one here.
Gari De Ramos (GDR): When did you first learn about the climate crisis? What was your immediate reaction?
Hana Razvi (HR): My earliest memory of hearing the words “climate change” or “climate crisis” first appeared in the 4th grade. At this time, it was 2012 and Hurricane Sandy had done severe damage to the East Coast. We would watch locals giving interviews and videos of the storm to show how badly people were being affected and how the effects of climate change will continue as we get older. I remember sitting in my classroom thinking how sad it was that all of these people had lost their homes, jobs, lives, and overall peace.
GDR: When did you first decide to get involved in climate activism? How and why did you come to that decision?
HR: During my freshman year of high school, I joined the environmental club. It first started off as a way to meet people who were interested in making the school more environmentally friendly. However, as time went on and I learned about local climate issues in Milwaukee, I knew that I wanted to work and make a difference. Seeing lower income families struggle and have the disadvantage of living in areas where rain storms increase risks of flooding, reduced air quality in urban areas due to pollution, and the lack of climate education are reasons why I continue to be involved in climate action.
GDR: So you’re an Action Team Lead in Wisconsin. Tell me about your work as a team and what you’re focusing on.
HR: Currently, I am an Action Team Lead in southeast Wisconsin and I work with students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Together, we brainstorm ideas that will help us raise awareness of local environmental issues. We are focused on helping people in our community that struggle due to environmental injustice as well as meeting with government officials and asking them to declare a climate emergency. This past year, we teamed up with Milwaukee’s 350 club in order to demand the stop of Line 5. This included protests, getting signatures on petitions, as well as organizing a march at city hall on Earth Day.
GDR: Why do you think it’s important for young people to get involved in local activism and how does local activism feed into national and even global movements?
HR: I believe that local activism is the first step towards national and global movements. Starting off with small events, activist work, and protests helps build the knowledge and courage for young activists. It helps make national and global movements less intimidating and is extremely important in the long run. Many local issues could be surrounding your community and need attention before the larger movements.
Local activism is the first step towards national and global movements.
GDR: Talk about a time you felt proud of the impact you had made through your climate activism.
HR: I would say I was most proud of my climate activism work in 2020 when I was a senior in high school. At the time, I was a part of ACE as a fellow. As a team, ACE had mailed out about 326,000 handwritten postcards sent for voter registration and absentee voting. This had led to 56,442 youth climate voters registered in the key states we had been focusing on. To see those numbers on a screen and realize that we as a team had made that happen was monumental. I had felt incredibly proud of our ACE team that day and continue to do so.
GDR: What has been the hardest or most rewarding part of being in an ACE Action Team?
HR: The most rewarding part of being in an ACE Action Team is having other action teams nearby join in on our climate work. This upcoming summer, we are working with other ACE Action Teams in WI in order to speak with Governor Evers and demand a climate emergency. Having multiple actions teams come together for one cause feels incredible because we all share one goal. It really has brought a lot of people together and helped us as a community.
GDR: What is your advice to young people who want to get involved in climate activism?
HR: Be incredibly proud of every small victory you receive! Join your school’s local environmental or climate change organizations. Ask your science teachers questions about climate change and how they can incorporate it into the curriculum. Look for local climate protests and events that will both inform and allow you to get involved. Most importantly, don’t ever think that any step is too small.
GDR: How can others uplift or support the work you do?
HR: I think the best way for others to support my work would just be to raise awareness along with me. I believe that by informing people about the significant effects of climate change with one image, quote, or statistic can make a difference. It does not have to be a huge grand gesture either. A simple conversation, text message, or sending an article works the best.
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