When Jeremy Ornstein first learned about climate change as a child, he was terrified that the world was coming to an end.

“I would cover my ears whenever anyone mentioned the words ‘global warming,’” he says.

As he got older, his fear gave way to frustration with politicians who he says were not doing enough to avert the climate crisis.

After graduating from high school last year, Ornstein took a year off before starting college. He worked full-time with the Sunrise Movement. It’s an organization of young activists helping to elect politicians that support ambitious climate action.

Ornstein knocked on doors to help elect a new member of the Pennsylvania state legislature who opposed the construction of a new fossil fuel pipeline in the state. She ran on the issue and won.

“It just goes to show you that even when it’s an uphill battle, if you talk to people and treat people like they’re human beings and have real conversations, then you can win,” Ornstein says.

He wants to help other Americans create a future that is good for the planet and its people.

“To talk to people about how the future could include them and look how their dreams could be included in the future and how we can work together to achieve those … that feels like not just how we’re going to win elections but how we’re going to actually stop this climate crisis and make a better world,” he says.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Diana Madson

Diana Madson has been a regular contributor with Yale Climate Connections since April 2014. She enjoys exploring U.S.-based stories about unexpected and innovative solutions to climate change. In addition...