Founded in 2017 by Jamie Margolin, Nadia Nazar, Madelaine Tew, and Zanagee Artis, the youth-led organization made headlines with its first action: the 2018 Youth Climate March in Washington, D.C.
They’ve continued organizing even throughout the pandemic.
Growing up in Clinton, Connecticut, Artis spent a lot of his childhood exploring the coast. It wasn’t hard to do considering Clinton is part of an estuary known as Long Island Sound.
Estuaries are some of the most productive ecosystems on the planet. Exploring the Long Island Sound developed Artis’s interest in marine life conversation.
Eventually, Artis founded his high school’s Sustainability Committee (which eventually became known as the Green Team).
Artis specifically credits visits to Hammonasset Beach State Park with fostering his environmentalism.
He told the Nature Conservancy:
“Living by the shore is something that made me more connected to the environment and gives me something that I’m fighting for.”
But in the summer between his junior and senior year, Artis’s organizing shifted from a local to national sphere.
While attending a summer program at Princeton University, Jamie Margolin connected with other participants interested in climate action, including Artis.
On its website, Zero Hour notes its founders were “frustrated by the inaction of elected officials” and that youth were “almost always ignored” in conversations around climate change.
From the beginning, Zero Hour has named colonialism, racism, and patriarchy as the core causes of climate change. Currently, Artis serves as Zero Hour’s policy director.
We cannot afford to wait any longer for adults to protect our right to the clean and safe environment, the natural resources we need to not just survive, but flourish. We know that we are the leaders we have been waiting for!
Artis was Zero Hour’s logistics director while the organization was planning its 2018 march, which he says was a “launching point” for the youth climate movement.
In 2019, Artis also worked with the Sunrise Movement on global climate strikes in September and November. During the 2020 presidential election, he led the #Vote4OurFuture campaign.
Although the world has known for decades that the climate crisis is here, there hasn’t been a resource that simply identifies what climate crisis is, who is most impacted by it, what climate justice would look like, and what solutions to this crisis are. This book ... offers a space for hope and sharing solutions.