Countercurrents interviewed Kimaya Mahajan of Bellevue, WA, USA. She is a 14 year old climate justice activist who has a fresh take on the issue.
CC: Kimaya, tell us how you got involved in Climate Justice?
Kimaya: I’ve been involved with social justice in my community for some time now, and in all honesty, there aren’t a lot of student activists out there, so we all sort of intersect in different circles and organizations. I heard about the USYCS (Youth Climate Strike) from a fellow Seattle youth activist, emailed a few people, and became invested in the issue. It was really about me taking the initiative to get involved. I doubt I would be doing what I am now if I waited for someone to come to me.
CC: What is the best way to reach out to people?
Kimaya: As a teen, I’ve found that social media is such a powerful tool to get our messages across. But from an action perspective, I find that it has to come from a friend. What I mean is that it’s one thing to see a relative stranger shaming you for ignoring the environment by using single-use plastic, but it’s another when your friend shames you for it. Personal interactions, face-to-face especially, can make all the difference.
CC: Do you find that other young people are as passionate as you?
Kimaya: Well, yes and no. I do believe that apathy is a huge problem with my generation, at least in my community. But I also cherish the friendships I’ve made all over the country with other passionate youth, who inspire and motivate me every day. To directly answer the question, I’d have to truthfully say no, unfortunately I don’t find that most other young people are passionate enough.
CC: What is your message to young people around the world?
Kimaya: By the time my generation has grandkids, it won’t matter if we lost a couple followers, missed a test, or got in trouble at home for being passionate and active on climate change. In the next few generations, what will matter is that most of us stood by and did nothing as our world collapsed under our weight. It will be OUR FAULT. So to all the youth out there who are resistant to “activism” because it could damage your reputation, or cause you to get a bad grade, think about your future. Our future. And make a change.
Kimaya can be reached at email@example.com. Instagram: @kimaya.mahajan