Just when the world’s voices are crying to be heard, Youth Climate Activist Jamie Margolin provides a roadmap to turning up the volume via her new book, Youth to Power: Your Voice and How to Use It.
Eighteen-year-old Margolin is no stranger to making sure the perspective of today’s youth is considered in important conversations. She reflects on growing into her own power, from wanting to make a difference starting in the second grade, to finding her path at age of 14, the age when she learned how to ensure adults truly would listen.
“In my freshman year of high school, I was the youngest intern at my local campaign office. After the election season was over, I joined grassroots groups in my community doing the crucial but unglamorous work of educating and lobbying elected officials and my community about the climate crisis and demanding commonsense action.”
Margolin puts forth tactics that worked for her, going beyond merely suggesting action items like writing a letter to the editor or an op-ed to a newspaper and laying out the entire process so others can follow suit.
“We are yet to be broken and burned out,” she writes. “We are still closer than adults to that part of ourselves that is full of questions, challenges, and a refusal to accept the state of the world around us. We have fresh energy, insight, and a unique power to create change in our world. What we get in trouble most for at school is usually questioning the rules. But questioning the rules may actually be where our greatest power lies.”
Each chapter delivers advice on how to be a changemaker, from community organizing to aligning with a nonprofit to movement building. Shedding light on diversity in activism are 17 interviews Margolin has conducted with other youth activists about their experiences in the trenches.
And there’s encouragement, as Margolin reassures, “The world of changemaking can be thrilling and empowering, and it can give you a sense of hope and relief in the face of the challenges you’re up against.”
Youth or adult, this book arrives at a crucial time, serving as a source of empowerment. In Margolin’s words, “This book is your guide to causing good trouble, unlearning everything you’ve been taught before, disrupting the status quo, making your voice heard, challenging problematic authority, changing the culture, changing laws, and yes, changing the world.”
Here’s Parentology’s interview with Jamie Margolin from this past September.