When New Yorker Jade Lozada learned about the negative impact climate change has on low income and marginalized communities, she knew she had to speak out. A talented wordsmith, Jade decided to use poetry to touch people’s hearts as well as their minds. Now, Jade is a passionate climate organizer who writes and performs poetry about climate justice.
Growing up on New York City’s wealthy Upper West Side, Jade was sheltered from learning about the full impact of climate change. But when she began attending high school in the Bronx, she began to see how climate change affects communities differently. “When I went to high school in the Bronx, I first saw communities that don’t have the same resources to escape the heat,” Jade tells In The Know. “I wrote a poem about a low income girl from what I imagined to be the Bronx experiencing climate change and its more insidious effects, and its intersection with social justice.”
Jade began researching climate change, and learned about the specific threats climate change poses to New York City. “One of the most obvious effects of climate change here is the sea level rise,” she explains. “Another big issue that the city faces is the urban heat island effect. When the summer comes around and we have these bad heat waves, the heat just kind of reverberates between the buildings and creates an environment that is dangerous to a lot of people.”
Jade began using poetry to explore intersecting issues within the climate justice movement. “Poetry served as the entry point for me into the climate justice movement,” she recalls. “Climate change served as this lens to understand social justice issues. Things like poverty, housing justice, [and] immigration.”
Eventually, Jade joined a climate activism youth group, where she became a passionate organizer. “I had met someone through climate strike organizing who was starting a youth group specifically to work in climate politics and policy, and that more direct contribution really interested me,” she recalls.
Now, Jade is both a climate justice organizer and climate change poet. In her poetry, she tries to channel the passionate emotions that drive the climate justice movement. “I think of myself more now as an organizer and a writer than an activist,” she explains. “When I’m writing, I’m just trying to tap into a very specific emotion of community, and when I’m performing, I really hope that people don’t interpret what I have to say as me speaking, but rather as a voice that speaks to an emotion.”
Jade believes in the power of poetry to change hearts and minds, and to directly bring about policy changes. “Poetry is a way of connecting and reminding myself that this really just all comes down to real stories, to individual people and families,” she tells In The Know. “I hope that my written work will bring policy solutions into the mainstream conversation and tangibly help the lives of people who are being displaced by the climate crisis.”
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