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Contract for the Climate: Keya Chatterjee

“This is a moral call to action.”

Keya Chatterjee is Executive Director of US Climate Action Network and author of The Zero Footprint Baby: How to Save the Planet While Raising a Healthy Baby. We discuss racial injustice at the center of the climate crisis, mobilizing 3.5% of the population for change, and disruptive humanitarianism.

Keya Chatterjee is Executive Director of US Climate Action Network and author of The Zero Footprint Baby: How to Save the Planet While Raising a Healthy Baby. We discuss racial injustice at the center of the climate crisis, mobilizing 3.5% of the population for change, and disruptive humanitarianism.

Racial Injustice in the Climate Crisis

Economic and racial injustices are at the center of the climate crisis. White communities have largely avoided things like polluting power plants and detrimental pipelines in their neighborhoods. Instead, communities of color have faced that burden. The willingness to sacrifice communities of color has made it easier for governments to tolerate climate chaos.

Aiding Youth Activism

Successful social movements often start with activism by young people, and in fact, cannot be successful without them. However, it’s up to the adults in our democracy to make sure their voices are heard since they are the ones who can vote and have the financial resources. It’s been proven that just 3.5% of a population can topple a dictatorship. What can it do for climate justice?

Disruptive Humanitarianism

Disruptive humanitarianism challenges the status quo and forces the system to change immediately for the better. It counters the idea that it’s everyone for themselves. It can be as simple as planting a garden where a pipeline is being placed. Taking action together in a democracy is imperative because it’s hard to create change as an individual.

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Keya Chatterjee is Executive Director of US Climate Action Network and author of The Zero Footprint Baby: How to Save the Planet While Raising a Healthy Baby. Her work focuses on building an inclusive movement in support of climate action. Prior to joining USCAN, Keya served as Senior Director for Renewable Energy and Footprint Outreach at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), where she worked for eight years. Before that, she was a Climate Change Specialist at USAID.

Keya also worked at NASA headquarters for four years, communicating research results on climate change. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco from 1998 to 2000. She served on the board of the Washington Area Bicycling Association from 2013 to 2021. Keya received her Master’s degree in Environmental Science, and her Bachelor’s in Environmental Science and Spanish from the University of Virginia.

You can follow Keya on Twitter @keya_chatterjee.

Keya Chatterjee Transcript

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