Empowering People to Save The Planet : With Angelou Ezeilo
The Earth is what we have in common and we cannot let that fall apart. Climate change, global warming and pollution are becoming the common hear words today. People, corporations and governments are becoming aware of the problems that are created and the repercussions that they can have on our future generations. We are noticing people standing up and trying to do their bit to help preserve the environment and joining us today is our hero without a cape Ms. Angelou Ezeilo.
Angelou is the CEO and founder of the Greening Youth Foundation. The Greening Youth Foundation’s mission is to engage and connect under-represented youth and young adults from diverse backgrounds to the outdoors and careers in conservation.
Her love for the environment stretches to her childhood, when she was a little girl who had the chance to escape the dense urban streets of Jersey City to upstate New York. It wasn’t long enough for her to develop a connection with the environment. The downside to it was that in spite of her deep connection to the environment, she wasn’t encouraged to pursue this field just because of the way she looked.
‘Follow your passion, it will lead you to success’
After becoming an attorney and working as a legal specialist for the New Jersey State Agriculture and Development Committee, she embarked upon a career as an environmentalist. She was introduced to the land conservation field as an attorney. Going through her career as an attorney and doing land conservation she realised that there was nobody really engaging or having conversations with communities of colour around this topic. Thus, the idea of the Greening Youth Foundation was born around 15 years ago.
‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world’
Initially they brought environmental education throughout schools in Georgia as a non-profit structure. Soon they shifted to a more global approach by engaging like-minded people to focus on environment degradation and climate change. She, along with her husband, who is the Chief Strategy Officer, faced many challenges as this was and still is a white dominated field and the funding never came in easy.
Angelou confesses that she realizes that the 20,000 something young people that they have engaged for these past 15 years, not everyone of them is going to pursue a career in conservation but due to the exposure to the grave situation, their lens of viewing the world has forever changed for the better. They're always going to be thinking that what they're doing is impacting our planet and the environment. This, hopefully, will bring the change that the world desires.
Angelou is truly a hero without a cape connecting women, youth, people of colour through environment. She is a role model, ushering a new era of environmental conservation, giving climate change a new look and bridging communities together. Listen to her full interview here.