Movement Makers: How Young Activists Upended the Politics of Climate Change

School strikes for the climate. A bold campaign for a Green New Deal. Fossil fuel divestment. Over the last few years, these and other youth-driven climate initiatives have grabbed the public’s attention and irrevocably altered the dialogue about climate change in the United States. But where did this unprecedented wave of activism come from? In Movement Makers, journalist Nick Engelfried reveals the behind-the-scenes story of the youth climate movement, showing how a scattering of small groups led by young people grew into a true mass uprising.

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Along with deep insights into how movements form and create change, in the pages of Movement Makers you’ll hear from interviews with current and former youth climate leaders including:

  • Jamie Margolin, the Seattle high school student who helped inspire Greta Thunberg to launch the climate strike movement,
  • Alyssa Lee, whose work reinvigorated campus fossil fuel divestment campaigns nationwide,
  • Will Lawrence, co-founder of Sunrise Movement and its youth-led drive for a Green New Deal,
  • Evon Peter, a key leader in the effort to defend Indigenous Gwich’in land from oil drilling,
  • Billy Parish, founder of the first major, nationally recognized coalition of climate groups led by young people,
  • Joseph White Eyes and Morgan Brings Plenty, leaders in the fight against the Dakota Access pipeline,
  • Enei Begaye, founder of the Black Mesa Water Coalition and a precedent-setting campaign against coal mining in Navajo country,
  • Lydia Avila, whose push for diversity and inclusion transformed climate organizations,
  • Tim DeChristopher, the University of Utah student who disrupted an oil and gas auction with an act of creative civil disobedience,
  • Dany Sigwalt, current executive director of the Power Shift Network,
  • Hridesh Singh, organizer of a youth-driven effort to divest New York from fossil fuels,
  • Ilana Cohen, leader in the campaign that forced Harvard to divest,
  • and many, many others!

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No previous book has covered the U.S. youth climate movement in such a comprehensive way, illuminating how two decades of organizing laid the foundation for seismic shifts in our national politics. Prepare to be amazed at the meteoric rise of a movement fighting for young people’s future—and be inspired to find your place in it.

Movement Makers resources:

Attend or schedule a Movement Makers author event

Nick is happy to schedule virtual or in-person reading and speaking events with activist organizations, student clubs, classes, or other groups interested in Movement Makers. Find an existing event near you, or contact Nick to set one up.

Start a book discussion group

Movement Makers book discussion groups are a great way to share the incredible story of the youth climate movement with a wider audience. Download a free, chapter-by-chapter discussion questions packet to help you get started.

Get Movement Makers at your library

Would you like Movement Makers to be available to everyone at your local public library? Check out this guide on how to request your library purchase a book for its shelves.

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Get involved in the youth climate movement

Most of the organizations featured in Movement Makers are actively fighting for a livable future and climate justice today. Learn more about them and how to get involved by visiting their websites at the links below. Then join their email lists, go to a meeting, or participate in an action!

Groups fighting for a just, green economy

Sunrise Movement

Indigenous Environmental Network

Young Salmon Protectors

Groups organizing against fossil fuel money

Divest Ed

Fossil Free Research

Polluters Out

Stop the Money Pipeline

New York Youth Climate Leaders

Groups fighting fossil fuel infrastructure

Black Mesa Water Coalition

Gwich’in Steering Committee

Stop Line 3

Rising Tide North America

Groups training a new generation of climate leaders

Zero Hour

Native Movement

Power Shift Network

Sierra Student Coalition

Earth Uprising

Reconnect Earth