With little question that Earth is experiencing dangerous climate chaos, the business-as-usual ethos of elected officials and corporate executives is hard to fathom—especially for young people whose future is in jeopardy. Now, a youth-led group called Climate Defiance has vowed to forcefully confront those responsible, saying, “If people in power will not save us, we will save ourselves.”
Organizers with Climate Defiance have publicly confronted officials such as Carla Frisch, a top aide to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm; Tommy Beaudreau, deputy secretary of the Department of the Interior; and White House Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi. One of Climate Defiance’s organizers, who goes by the name “Yew,” spoke with YES! Racial Justice Editor Sonali Kolhatkar on YES Presents: Rising Up With Sonali about how her organization approaches activism and what moves her to participate.
Sonali Kolhatkar is currently the racial justice editor at YES! Media and a writing fellow with Independent Media Institute. She was previously a weekly columnist for Truthdig.com. She is also the host and creator of Rising Up with Sonali, a nationally syndicated television and radio program airing on Free Speech TV and dozens of independent and community radio stations. Sonali won First Place at the Los Angeles Press Club Annual Awards for Best Election Commentary in 2016. She also won numerous awards including Best TV Anchor from the LA Press Club and has also been nominated as Best Radio Anchor 4 years in a row. She is the author of Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence, and the co-director of the nonprofit group, Afghan Women's Mission. Her forthcoming book is Rising Up: The Power of Narrative in Pursuing Racial Justice (City Lights, 2023). She has a Master’s in Astronomy from the University of Hawai’i, and two undergraduate degrees in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin. She reflects on her professional path in her 2014 TEDx talk, “My Journey From Astrophysicist to Radio Host.” She can be reached at sonalikolhatkar.com