Q&A With Bridget, an Environmental Activist & Fridays for Future Massachusetts Founder

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Photo of Bridget at Fridays for Future Massachusetts

We spoke with Bridget Lord, an environmental activist and founder of Fridays for Future Massachusetts. Friday’s for Future is the organization that’s been behind many of the global youth-led climate strikes. Bridget shares her experience planning climate strikes, the importance of environmental justice, and her advice for young people interested in activism.

How did you get involved with the environmental movement?

This one is really tough, because in all honesty I feel I’ve always had such passion for this planet and to protect it. I grew up as a Girl Scout, learning from the youngest of ages about the beauty of the Earth and how to protect it (many are not aware how central environmentalism is to Girl Scouts). In sixth grade, my teacher Ms Garrett showed my class a presentation by Al Gore about climate change and I was shocked. It raised so many questions and I think helped shape my activism a lot. In the end, what brought me to environmentalism was truly how intersectional it is. I found that every single issue that I care about is connected to our planet and I knew I needed to make a change.

How do indigenous people’s rights intersect with the environmental movement?

Indigenous people are still suffering due to the restraints and injustices that colonizers placed on them hundreds of years ago. They have been fighting for our planet for hundreds of years while their land was stolen and water polluted. Even now as our Earth is deteriorating before our very eyes, our society continues to disregard and marginalize Indigenous voices. The part I am most ashamed of is that this climate crisis is affecting indigenous peoples the most and not only do we as a society neglect to help them, we do not even listen to the answers they provide. When we fight for our planet, we must not only fight for the trees and the animals of this Earth. We must demand climate justice – and that will always include indigenous voices.

What is your experience like as a young person in environmental justice?

I think many would be surprised to see how difficult it is. I sacrifice my social life, my mental health to fight for this Earth. And despite all of my work, I am criticized constantly, even by some within the movement.

What is something about the environmental justice movement that most people don’t think about?

I think that most people do not think about how angry we are that this is the expectation of youth now. Politicians commend our work – but we don’t want celebrations or compliments, we want action. Since when do politicians publicly applaud children for doing their job?

What is your role within Fridays for Future?

I founded Fridays For Future Massachusetts and coordinate it now, I am a regional coordinator for Lower New England. Both of these roles I do with my new friend Grace Yang, an environmental activist from Lexington, MA who was actually the first member of FFF MA! I am also a part of the FFF USA community (I work on messaging and our movement in America) and work on the media team for USA, as well as coordinating our partnerships working group. I also work on communications for Fridays For Future International!

What do you hope to achieve with Fridays for Future?

I hope we can continue to cause change. I hope that the leaders of this world will realize, just as I did, that every issue they care about is tied to protecting this planet and prioritize our future.

What was your role in organizing the climate strike on September 20th?

This question makes me laugh. I first got involved in Fridays For Future in late July of 2019. I heard about the strikes happening in September and knew I needed to plan one. I founded Fridays For Future Massachusetts and strapped in to work. And then one day in August I checked back on the FFF map just to see another strike had been registered. I ended up working on that strike (held by Climate Strike MA) as a school ambassador.

What is the most rewarding part about organizing climate strikes? What is one of the most difficult parts?

Seeing how empowered your peers are and watching them do something about it is without a doubt the best part about strikes. The most difficult part would have to be dealing school administrations. Some are supportive, most are decidedly not, and none know how to handle us. They realize we know exactly what the future holds if we do not act, and what we will think of them if they do not act. In the end most do not support us or reluctantly say yes.

What are your goals for the future?

For myself? I hope to study public policy and environmental studies in college, and serve in state government as an elected official and later at the federal level.

What advice do you have for young people who want to get involved in activism?

Oh my goodness, I cannot stress this enough: JUST DO IT! What I love the most about Fridays For Future is how open we are – we welcome everyone who is passionate. You can even just ask me if you want to get involved!

If it’s not environmentalism, that’s okay! Find what YOU are passionate about and follow it. It may seem scary jumping into activism, but all of us started somewhere! All are welcome in the fight for justice.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I just have to show some love to my USA community. I love Fridays For Future so much, and I so dearly appreciate the support from parents, teachers, even NASA climate scientists in our community. My fellow youth activists are what give me hope and make laugh when climate anxiety is killing me, and the environment of support and love in FFF is what keeps me fighting.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does environmental justice tie into issues that you’re passionate about? (Ex: racial justice, socioeconomic equity, education)
  2. Have you been to a protest or strike? If yes, why did you decide to go? What did you learn? If not, why not?
  3. How can people advocate for environmental justice, in addition to attending a protest?