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Member of the Month: Austen Needleman

Headshot of Austen Needleman

This month, we interviewed SanDiego350 volunteer, Austen Needleman to share about their climate activism. Austen is a dedicated member of SD350’s Marketing and Communications Team and Youth4Climate Adult Support Team.

How did you first get involved with SD350, and when was that?

Last March, I was looking for opportunities to get involved in environmental justice activism in San Diego. I joined an action hour, where I learned about the many volunteer teams I could be a part of, and was sold on SD350 as my new climate activist home! After trying out a few different teams, I landed on the Marketing and Communications and Youth4Climate Adult Support teams.

What drives your activism?  

Climate activism is an ideal mix of my interests in nature, science, and social justice. My activism is driven in equal parts by a love of living things and a desire to build a more just, accessible, and sustainable society.

What do you recommend to people who want to have a larger impact through the environmental movement? What do you prioritize in your own activism? 

My biggest recommendation to people interested in the environmental movement is to start with yourself: think about what you like to do, what you’re good at, what issues matter to you, and how you like to interact with other people and the world around you. Start there, then occasionally push yourself slightly out of your comfort zone to try new things and grow as a person and activist. You will be more motivated and effective if you engage in ways that are authentic to you, rather than trying to fit into someone else’s mold. As an educator, I prioritize informing people, and sometimes try to stretch myself by communicating about issues and ideas that are newer to me.

Is there anything else you would like people to know about you? Any fun facts?

My secret shame while working on climate issues is that I don’t know how to ride a bike! Bikes often come up as a clean transportation solution, and I just think, “This seems so great.. for someone else!” Hopefully, I’ll figure it out one day!