Analysse Humaran and Gianna Hutton are 11th graders representing Miami Palmetto Senior High School in this year’s Aspen Challenge. Living in Miami, the climate crisis is already at their doorstep. Analysse and Gianna want locals, especially youth, to understand climate science and connect the dots of the events occurring in their community. They believe they need to be agents of change as they are part of the generation that this crisis will affect most. Analysse and Gianna are passionate advocates for climate literacy—and believe in giving people the tools to spread the word and make better personal choices. We caught up with them to learn how they’re leading the fight.

What’s your approach to addressing climate change?
Our initiative is twofold. We are increasing climate literacy through a student-led podcast named Let’s Speak Green and peer-to-peer conversations in conjunction with the Climate Leadership Information Project of The CLEO Institute. We are also giving students a venue to take action to reduce our food-related carbon emissions through composting and Meatless Mondays.

In the United States, more than 40% of our food production is wasted. When sent to landfills, it decomposes without oxygen, resulting in the release of methane, a greenhouse gas with 25 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. By composting, we are mitigating the release of this greenhouse gas while also producing an organic fertilizer that can be used to make more food.

How is climate change affecting your community?
We are Latinx women. The climate crisis by nature is intertwined with racial and gender inequities, with BIPOC communities calling for environmental justice for generations. In Miami, the climate crisis not only will result in environmental repercussions but create a climate justice issue. For example, with sea-level rise, desalination is required when saltwater intrusion occurs, increasing freshwater prices. On top of that, inland communities here are lower-income diverse areas, so when sea-level rise pushes people to move farther from the water it has a gentrifying effect. Another example is affordable housing—the Department of Housing and Urban Development does not require air conditioning in affordable housing, and with extreme heat marginalized communities will need to pay high utility bills.

Read the full article about youth fighting for climate justice at The Aspen Institute.