The Voice Behind the Strike:
Haven Coleman outside of the Denver, Colorado Court House advertising the School Strike for Climate Change.
Haven Coleman advertising the School Strike for Climate Change outside the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
By Emily S.
April 23, 2019
An army of one, Haven Coleman stands on the steps of Colorado State Capital with a sign that reads, “School Strike for Climate Change.” Twelve years old and a Climate Change activist from Denver, Colorado, Coleman is trying to make a big difference in the world. She is the co-founder and co-director of the student Climate Change strike in America that occurred on March 15th in solidarity with Greta Thunberg’s strike and Friday’s For Future.
“I have tried other ways to get youth involved in climate activism. After seeing Greta Thunberg and her momentum through climate striking, I wanted to try it too,” explained Haven Coleman.
Haven Coleman’s army of one has been growing at a fast rate. In the last year, she has gained support from 21 other states, who were all a part of the strike on March 15th. She also has official partners for the US Youth Climate Strike: Sierra Club, Future Coalition, DoSomething, Zero Hour, Youthvgov, 350, Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion, Women’s March Youth Empower, March for Science, Sunrise Movement, iMatter Youth, and The Climate Reality Project.
On March 15th, Coleman along with the other heads of the US Youth Climate Strike lead groups of young people all over the country in their effort to make change and support the European youth strikes that occured throughout the month of March. The strike was a huge success in bringing new awareness to the issue of Climate Change and young people across the US were filled with hope for the future. However, the fight is not over and Coleman and her partners are preparing for their next strike on May 3rd, 2019.
The US Climate Strike, however is not her first step in her push to strike change. When she was 10 years old, she learned how climate change was affecting the sloth, her favorite animal. Coleman wanted to start a conversation in Colorado about the effects of climate change as well as gun violence and the retirement of coal plants. Recently, she has become the founder of the board of Never Again-CO, which helped to organize the March for Our Lives-Denver.
“I hope to try to catch the attention of the adults, and they have the power,” said Haven. “We the youth can’t vote, and we can’t run for office, but we can convince adults to do the right thing. I hope to get as many youth in the streets to show the adults that we care!”
Coleman is proactive in getting youths’ voices heard by adults. She often speaks to her elected officials at town halls, city council meetings, and utility board meetings, but she doesn’t stop there. She also emails them, tweets them, and encourages others to do the same. In 2017, 24 Hours of Reality did a profile of her, and in the video, she stands up in front of Denver's council and gives a powerful speech about climate change. Her army of one now has a voice of millions and is ready to strike.
“Each and every one of the [climate change] issues affects or hurts or kills someone. How do we choose one climate breakdown problem to focus on when they are all urgent? We have to fight this and put [a] solution into place from all angles at once.”