Fighting Climate Change, And Age Bias, With 16-Year-Old Sarah Goody

Sarah Goody’s work in environmental activism has been honored by Prince William and Harry, The Duke of Sussex, recognized with awards from Blume, SheKnows, the Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership, and more.

Sarah Goody marches in the Youth Climate Strike in San Francisco on May 24, 2019. (Image Credit: Sarah-Goody.com)

She has led weekly Friday demonstrations at San Francisco’s City Hall and the Ferry Building, and has been published in Forbes and Teen Vogue.

She is the founder of Climate NOW and Broadway Speaks Up, two organizations dedicated to putting a face on climate action, and is Chair of the Corte Madera Climate Action Committee, where she leads a team of 15 in the carbon neutrality efforts of her California hometown.

The kicker? Sarah Goody is 16 years old.

“My identity as a young woman greatly plays into the way I address climate change and stand up for justice,” Goody says. “I understand what it’s like to be silenced, ignored, and made fun of simply due to my gender. This is why it’s so important to me that in fighting for climate justice, I am also fighting for equal rights for all people, regardless of their race, gender, or identity.”

Her work began after a female middle school student visited Goody’s fourth grade class to share her experiences fundraising for St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital.

“To this day, I still remember that presentation and how excited I was to see a young girl like me changing the world,” Goody says. “I believe that by being a young person and a young woman, the interactions I have with students are meaningful on a whole new level. I now see myself as a potential role-model to young girls all over the world, and hope that I can inspire them to go out and take action regardless of their gender identity.”

Goody’s work represents an exciting and promising trend in young female activists around the world. As California’s answer to Greta Thunberg, Goody fights for climate action in the U.S. and abroad, while also spreading the word about women’s and LGBT+ rights in talks with students around the country.

Not Taken Seriously Due to Age

“As a 16-year-old, I am not always taken seriously for the work that I do,” Goody says. “It takes a lot of effort to break down barriers and prove myself as a young person. Even though I don’t have a college degree yet or haven’t spent 20+ years practicing climate science, that doesn’t mean my voice isn’t important to the conversation around climate justice.”

This mentality forms the backbone of Goody’s work. A strong supporter of mental health awareness, the youth-led climate movement, and connecting social justice movements with the fight for climate action, Goody has appeared in event panels and webinars over the last few years.

The difference between Goody’s style and traditional activism is that she is always looking for new ways to get her message out. Goody doesn’t put down the torch when her panel ends, the webinar wraps up, or a piece of legislation earns approval.

“There is no right way to be an activist,” she says. “When it comes to activism and advocacy work, there are an infinite amount of paths you can choose to pursue.”

Founding of Climate NOW

One of the paths Goody pursued was the founding of Climate NOW, a youth-led organization dedicated to educating young people about climate change and the ways they can take action for a better future. Founded in 2019, the organization answers a demonstrated need for climate education in the U.S. Initially, the organization served students in Goody’s hometown of Corte Madera, California, but has since expanded its operations to work with students around the world.

“I am most inspired by the young people I interact with through my organization,” Goody says. “It amazes me to see how excited my generation is to act on climate change and make a difference to help the planet. Even my favorite moments from my work have been interactions with students! Seeing the passion I ignite within them truly rocks my world.”

Goody’s mission offers an opportunity for feminist philanthropy, too. Her work in climate activism goes hand in hand with activism for women’s rights and the LGBT+ community — and according to Goody, these efforts cannot exist in a vacuum.

“Philanthropy is a powerful tool and activation that can change the world and create a more sustainable future,” she explains. “Organizations like Climate NOW rely on philanthropy to keep our programs running. Philanthropic gifts from individuals and organizations can provide the funding for educational programs and materials that will extend the reach of our work.”

For example, Climate NOW is hosting a webinar series this Earth Day for youth to learn about climate change, and in order to host this event they will need to pay for things like streaming services, website design, and guest speakers — a conundrum women’s organizations know all too well.

“Without philanthropic donations, Climate NOW would not be able to host this event for youth around the world,” Goody says. “Climate change is an issue of life or death. As a society, if we do not act urgently to reduce rising carbon emissions, our future will look grim to say the least. This is why it is imperative that we begin taking urgent action to combat rising carbon emissions, and utilize philanthropy to bring attention to the climate crisis and support climate solutions.”

Prioritizing Rights and Lives of Women and LGBTQ People

“In addition to positively impacting the environment, philanthropy can be used to create a society that prioritizes the rights and lives of women and LGBTQ people,” she adds. “Philanthropists can donate to organizations that focus on or are led by women and LGBTQ changemakers.”

To other activists and those who would carry on her mission, Goody says, “Don’t get caught up in the idea that there’s a certain way to be an activist or make a difference. Be open to new ideas, initiatives, and strategies.”

“The best way for YOU to get involved in the work I am doing is by signing up and attending Climate NOW’s Climate Action Crash Course Webinar Series,” Goody adds. “The webinar series will be split up into 4 parts for different age ranges and will culminate on Earth Day 2021.”

As Goody looks back on her entrance into activism, and forward to an extremely bright future, she has one more piece of advice to share.

“I wish someone had told me that the most successful activists are those who use their unique voice and personality to find new approaches to social justice issues,” she says. “Find the beauty in what makes you different, and share that with the world.”

“Activism has taught me where I fit in the world, and that is inspiring change for the advancement of society,” Goody adds. “I want to die one day knowing I played a role that changed history. I will not stop fighting for climate justice until I see a promising future for society. No matter where the future takes me, I promise you that activism will forever be a part of my life.”


About Sarah Goody: Sarah Goody is a 16-year-old climate activist and founder of Climate NOW, an international youth-led organization focused on educating and empowering young people to take climate action. Sarah is the Chair of the Corte Madera Climate Action Committee, she is making history as the youngest person to Chair a committee in her town. Sarah has spoken at schools and rallies and has appeared on podcasts and shows as a guest speaker. She is a published author, with work in Teen Vogue and The San Francisco Chronicle. In 2020 Sarah received the Princess Diana Award, the highest accolade a young person can achieve for social action or humanitarian efforts.

Readers can visit www.sarah-goody.com or follow Sarah on Instagram @sarah.goody4 to learn more about her work and follow her journey. To learn more about Climate NOW visit www.climatenow.solutions or follow @thisisclimatenow on social media. You can also support Climate NOW by donating to the organization, subscribing to their newsletter, signing up for the Climate NOW Hero Program, and volunteering with the program.


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Elect Women by Funding Them at Every Level

Where Are Young Women in Philanthropy?

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Author: Maggie May

Maggie May is a small business owner, author, and story-centric content strategist headquartered in Annapolis, MD and Philadelphia, PA. She has a passion for finding stories and telling them the way they're meant to be told.

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