Color of Climate
What is the Color of Climate?
Color of Climate(COC) centers youth and Black, Indigenous and People of Color, their voices, experiences, and perspectives on climate change and environmental justice. COC members explore the intersection of the climate crisis and our communities, who is involved in the fight for climate justice, and how you can be a leader in change.
We also like to get outside and explore all Maine has to offer to spark youths' feeling of connection to Maine's natural spaces and to each other.
To center Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) youth voices, experiences and narratives within the climate change crises and within environmental justice issues, especially because BIPOC communities and individuals are often the most impacted by these issues.
To promote the understanding of climate change and environmental justice issues amongst Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) youth and their communities through engagement and leadership.
Climate Migration Speaker Series
Color of Climate has partnered with The Gulf of Maine Research Institute to have scientists and specialists from across the country share their expertise in ways designed specifically for youth, teachers, informal educators, and librarians. Specific topics range from an overview of global patterns of climate risk and migration to personal narratives of how residents are adapting to and relocating as caused by climate change.
The Speaker Series occurs on on the first Mondays of the month from February to June at 3:15pm. For more information:
The 2022 Climate Migration Speaker Series has ended but check back next school year for another possible speaker series.
How can I join?
The Color of Climate meetings are for BIPOC Youth in middle school to college age.
We have bi-weekly zoom meetings every Wednesday from 5-6pm.
For more information about how to join the COC and/or COC events, contact: Osama Mohamed at [email protected] and/or Safiya Khalid at [email protected].
Link Tree to COC Social Media
The following are Blog Posts from an assignment featuring new perspectives on Maine's climate and/or environment to provide individuals with some personal stories about Maine's environment that they probably wouldn't hear otherwise. The blog posts are written by the Color of Climate's three wonderful ambassadors: Yani Nganzobo, Idey Abdi, and Thea Forrest.
The Blog Posts are featured on the Natural Resources Council of Maine website: https://www.nrcm.org/blog/color-of-climate/
My name is Yani Nganzobo. I am originally from The Democratic Republic of Congo, but I grew up in South Africa. I arrived in the United States of America in the year 2019 as an international student majoring in business at the University of Maine at Machias. During the past few years living in the United States, I have gotten the chance to understand the importance of the environment and its necessity through the different organizations and community services I have participated in. Not only did it build my understanding but also helped me put what I have learned into practice. Where I come from the word environment is something hard to even hear about. It is not every day you hear people talking about how necessary it is for us to take care of our environment. What I mean is that it is not something that is emphasized. I grew up in an environment where nobody cared. It was all about waking up, brushing my teeth, and getting ready to go to school, study, and get employed, nothing more! I remember one time I participated in a community work whereby we had to pick up litter at the park and that was it. Never did I do something like that again. It was something rare.
The word climate change never existed to me, the only place I have heard about it is in our geography classes and that was it. When I got to 10th grade my main focus was on accounting and business, that’s it. I believe if you watch the news you would understand why our countries are not moving forward. We don’t have the right people to lead us and how our communities grow to be a better place for us to live. Yes, there are parts of the country people are doing well but it is rare. Another thing is that I would remember throwing things on the floor/ground because it is something that we were used to. You would see trash on the ground which increased pollution in the community. Unlike here, throwing dirt on the ground is illegal. I was shocked when my friend warned me about trash being thrown in an inappropriate area. When I came to the United States my perspective of the environment changed when my friends started mentioning to me the importance of what is around us. I started participating in community service.
My first community work was working for Gateway Community Services Maine- Covid Youth Coalition (CYC) which later started Color of Climate. This was the start of my journey, a life change, and a new beginning. My ideas and thoughts towards the environment started to change. I started to understand my impact on the world matters a lot. Yes, it was hard because some habits were hard to change, like throwing dirt on the ground which leads to causing pollution. I thought twice about what I should do. Being in this group (COC) and other organizations (MEEA and Cultivating Community) has enlightened my thoughts to better the environment we are living in and this helped make me understand the negative and positive impact we have. The activities we do, the very informative slideshow, and most importantly the zoom meetings are all aspects that contribute to the world’s success. If not for these gatherings many of us wouldn’t have an idea of what climate change is. This is the story of my involvement with the environment.
Ever since I was young, I have always wanted to leave Maine. I thought it lacked diversity and there were not a lot of activities to do. I never got to go on family vacations or explore the beautiful state. Last summer, I got to go on a three day trip to Acadia National Park. Although I was not able to bring my family, I was surrounded by friends and community members. After hiking Cadillac Mountain, I watched a breath-taking view of the sunrise, something I will never forget. Although the experience was unforgettable, the thought that many Mainers like me will never have the opportunity to visit Acadia National Park broke my heart. I would love to return and bring my family to the national park so they can also see the beauty of Maine. That trip made me realize that I love the outdoors and Maine is one of the most gorgeous states in the country.
In December 2020, I had a conversation with Safiya Khalid, Leadership Programs Manager at Gateway Community Services Maine, about my interest in climate change and my desire to get involved. She informed me that disadvantaged and minority communities are heavily impacted by environmental issues. I was surprised because I grew up and live in an underrepresented and underserved community. That conversation was very eye opening to me and I also realized the importance of educating and advocating for the people in my community. I am currently a Changemaker Fellow with Maine Environmental Education Association (MEEA), for my fellowship Community Action Project, I am planning to organize a clean-up day in Lewiston during my Spring break. I was motivated to create this project because when I would walk to school or go outside, I would always see trash on the floor. I wanted to host a beautification project. This is just the start. I hope to lead more beautification projects in the area like advocating to have more trash cans, planting gardens around town, working on an art project with the students to be displayed in town, etc.
When I was younger, I used to live in the countryside. I have only recently begun to realize what a gift it has been to be able to have had those experiences. It was something that I had always taken for granted. Growing up, being surrounded by nature has greatly influenced my appreciation for it, as well as spending time outside.
During my freshman year of high school, I attended a climate change rally in front of City Hall. It was truly eye-opening to witness so many students from different high schools and middle schools coming together to speak and be heard. It sparked my interest in climate change and climate justice. This event showed me the importance and value of speaking up for what you believe in and how impactful it can be.
I joined Color of Climate in 2021. I was given a flier for the climate change group and began attending meetings, where we discussed a variety of topics. Learning about the severe and devastating consequences of our actions when it comes to our impact on the earth, has helped me to understand the urgency of climate change. Color of Climate has allowed me to share and communicate my thoughts about this issue and has given me the opportunity to listen to others and hear their perspectives. This group has allowed me to find my voice and learn alongside other young people.
Climate Migration Speaker Series
Recorded Speaker Series on March 7th: Myths of Managed Retreat with A.R.
Siders and Erica Bower
To watch other Climate Migration Speaker Series Events, click here: Events: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuONjiH8fWQ&list=PL3tOTGlQp_uFBgXMO3INX0cii4WzmzHnl&index=2
APRIL 4, 3:15pm Fish in the Street and Rivers of Concrete- Climate Migration in Miami-Dade, FL with Nadia Seeteram
MAY 2, 3:15pm Climate Change Modeling with Alex De Sherbinin
JUNE 6, 3:15pm Where Will Climate Migrants Go? Preparing Receiving Communities for Climate-Driven In-Migration with Fern Hickey and Miyuki Hino
Click below to learn more about the Speaker Series.
Note: The Climate Migration Speaker Series has ended for the 2022 school year but check back next year for more possible speaker series.