Hakim Evans has a mission to educate young people on climate awareness and environmental justice

Young people are essential to the fight for climate justice. That’s why environmental activist Hakim Evans wants to equip young people with the information they’ll need to change the world and save the environment. Hakim is a founding board member of Climate Emergency Advocates and spends his time empowering young people through education and advocacy. 

As a child, Hakim wasn’t particularly interested in environmental justice. However, when he moved to New York City, everything changed. “Originally, I never saw the importance of caring about the climate crisis. I didn’t even know what it was,” he tells In The Know. “I’m Jamaican and moving to New York City, to the Rockaways, it was eye-opening. We all know about superstorm Sandy in 2012 and the impacts are still being felt by the community to this day.”

Hakim started out as a Fellow at Action for the Climate Emergency, then became a founding board member of Climate Emergency Advocates. At ACE, he worked primarily on legislation, but now his work focuses on youth education. “Originally, I was an Action Fellow, focused mainly on garnering support for legislation focused on building a green economy,” he explains. “[Now] I’m a founding board member of Climate Emergency Advocates, an affiliate of Action for the Climate Emergency, and we focus on educating youth and giving them the tools to demand the future that they need.”

While Hakim is a passionate activist, he has moved away from leading rallies, and is now focusing on creating a new generation of activists. “My work has really moved from being on the frontlines of the movement at rallies to stepping back and allowing others to take up that space that I used to occupy,” he explains. “It’s not just overseeing, but being the guiding light for others in current and future generations.”

Hakim believes not only in educating young people, but in crafting compelling stories about climate justice that will get them excited about the movement. “We want to get people’s stories told, so from there we can show injustices in different communities,” he explains. “Storytelling is one of the most important facets of environmental justice because we see an individual’s story as the passion for other people in the movement. My story can help blossom future changemakers.”

Community, perseverance, and resilience are at the heart of Hakim’s work. “It’s hard to think that another superstorm could be on its way, but it is very likely, and currently I don’t think the Rockaways can handle that,” he says. “All we can do is build a resilient community. The people that I’ve met, based on the work I’ve done with ACE, are like family. And that’s how we’ll overcome this. By building connections. ”

Even though the climate crisis can be scary, Hakim wants to encourage people not to lose hope. “Real sustainable change will never happen overnight,” he explains. “It’s easy to get anxious over the climate crisis. A lot of people do. It’s really important to stay grounded and remember why you even cared about this issue in the first place. That should be the source of where we find solace.”

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