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Member of the Month: Jennifer Phelps

Headshot of Jennifer Phelps

This month, we interviewed SanDiego350 volunteer, Jennifer Phelps to share about their climate activism. Jennifer is a dedicated member of SD350’s Youth4Climate Adult Team.

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

I first became actively involved during 2018 when the youth program started gaining traction. I then volunteered for planning the first Youth Empowerment Summit in June 2019, which attracted over 50 high school students for an all-day, action-packed seminar on climate action. I found that experience so inspiring that I remained actively involved with the subsequent youth events, which grew into Youth4Climate.

What drives your activism?

I have two twenty-something daughters who are looking at a world much different than mine at their age. In fact, they feel that they are facing such an uncertain, volatile future that right now, neither one thinks it would be fair to have children. Their realities are so far from what mine was, I feel compelled to do something to try to make a difference on the climate crisis, which could be one of the most dire situations humanity has ever faced. Ecologist Joanna Macy’s outlook of “Active Hope” (that is, hope with action), resonates with me. I am hopeful that we will turn things around, AND hope combined with action can get us there.

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?

It seems very important to leverage our energy so that we have an impact through our collective action. Sometimes how I spend my time may not feel like it is making a big impact, but as adrienne marie brown says, “Small is all.” 

As far as prioritizing, I like to spend my time where I get energy from whatever I’m doing. So, I look at my strengths and how I can apply them. And looking into what researchers have targeted as the most impactful areas to focus on helps guide my personal activism choices. Going with your passion on something that will make a difference on climate helps keep me involved for the long-haul. I also think it’s important to take breaks when I need them and find ways to rejuvenate to keep my momentum going. Being involved with SD350 has given me a much stronger purpose and focus. By working together, winning the climate fight feels possible!

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

My husband and I bought a house with my parents about 25 years ago, and we all live together– it’s proven to be a very sustainable way to live! I love biking to work, and outdoor mini-adventures are fun: hiking around Torrey Pines State Park, swimming in the Cove (when the ocean gets over 68), or walking in a forest.