“It is time to get to work!” 18-years-old Jerome Foster tweeted after being included among a group of 26 listed advisers to President Joe Biden who will give recommendations on how to address environmental injustices in the United States under the umbrella of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC).
The teenage climate change activist had developed passion for climate activism since he was five-years-old.
As a high school student of Washington Leadership Academy, he championed a solo 58 weeks climate strike in front of the White House under the Donald Trump administration before the lockdown.
It has been a long journey – from climate striking in front of the White House for 58 weeks – to now working inside of its walls to craft reform.
It’s time to get to work! w/ @POTUS @WhiteHouse pic.twitter.com/a6Rwd8OWqj
— Jerome Foster II (@JeromeFosterII) March 29, 2021
Inspired by equally young Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, Mr Foster started organising a protest on Fridays in front of the White House carrying placards with the inscription ‘’school strike for climate,’’ an invocation of the global school strike movement started by Ms Thunberg.
School strike for climate also known as Youth Strike for Climate, is an international movement of school students of all ages, races, genders, backgrounds who skip Fridays classes to participate in demonstrations to demand action from political leaders to prevent climate change and for the fossil fuel industry to transition to renewable energy.
Being a self-educated student of climate change, the teenage founder of a youth media outfit, the Climate Reporter, and the executive director of a youth voting advocacy group, OneMillionOfUs, believes he was wrong by thinking adults would be able to solve and put under control the problem of climate change. And for this reason, he said he took action.
“I saw the urgency wasn’t being met,” Mr Foster wrote on his Instagram page to educate his class on climate change and his own virtual reality company in high school to create VR experiences on the effects of the climate emergency.
“My school was not supportive of what I was doing,” he admitted of his strikes, noting that his grades subsequently suffered from missing class. “Teachers would not give make-up work… I think that that lack of support really hurt a lot of people.”
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“If I focus on my school and don’t think about my future, then our future will be totally at risk. And I think that was a struggle and it still is,” he added.
“No one wants to be fighting for clean air in 2030,” he wrote. “When you aren’t able to plan for your future, you aren’t able to feel secure. When everything is destabilising and you don’t have a fallback plan, that’s incredibly devastating.”
“Young people need to keep marching. We can’t be complacent,” he adds. “It’s up to us to save our future.”
The Biden-Harris supporter who counts it as an incredible honour to have been selected to serve as the youngest member of the Biden White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council to compact global climate crisis, however, said: ‘’Young people fighting for climate, is not an excuse to stop acting. It is your opportunity to continue on stronger.’’
‘’My generation was born into this crisis, we cannot be the only ones to clean up a mess that we did not make,’’ he added.
To Adults: Young people fighting for climate, is not an excuse to stop acting. It is your opportunity continue on stronger.
My generation was born into this crisis, we cannot be the only ones to clean up a mess that we did not make.
— Jerome Foster II (@JeromeFosterII) April 13, 2021
Foster, who is from New York alongside other members of the advisory council from other geographical regions, will work to ensure that the Biden administration is informed by the insights, expertise, and experiences of environmental justice leaders across the nation.