You may recognize Zarna Joshi from news broadcasts or from her interview in the New York Times. She helped organize the high profile, anti-Arctic drilling protests in Seattle this spring. Her passion for fighting climate change ignited at the United Nations Climate Change Conference at The Hague, Netherlands in 2000. People from around the world came together to demand that world leaders make climate change a priority. The experience made a big impression on Joshi and she’s become influential in global warming activism in Washington state.

“At that protest in the Netherlands, I felt part of something that was much more important than my own 18-year old concerns. There was so much more at stake. Being part of that movement was incredibly enlightening to me. It revealed the genuine human cost of climate change and how our leaders are failing us,” she said.

In the 15 years since The Hague, we’ve seen levels of climate warming that even radical scientists did not predict, she says. “This has come on so much faster than any of us thought. Projections are that we have five years to make a complete infrastructure change. If we do so, we may have a hope of saving the human species.”

Climate change is a worldwide movement, but Joshi strongly believes that it must also be a local movement. We’re seeing a local, diverse movement emerge here as groups like the Alliance for Jobs & Clean Energy bring together Washingtonians to build power and make change.

“If we don’t rise up now, there’s no way we can hold off climate chaos,” she says. “I believe in ‘the people’ being able to raise their voices to demand change; not just from our leaders but also from one another.”

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