When 16-year-old Sarah Goody was in sixth grade, her class spent a month exploring the causes and effects of climate change. The experience helped her understand the direct impacts that the climate crisis would have on the future of her community in the San Francisco Bay area and on society as a whole
"It was in this moment that I made a promise to myself never to stop fighting until I saw a future where the human race could thrive in safety and peaceful coexistence with nature," she said.
In 2018, she attended Youth Empowered Action, a week-long summer camp for young people passionate about making a difference. Here, she came to understand the strength of her voice and her capacity to connect with others. She learned that, despite her young age, she had an important message to share with the world and had the power to ignite global change.
"Much of my work is inspired by past struggles with depression and OCD."
Now, Sarah uses her voice and platform to empower young people to take climate action and protect the planet for the future. She is passionate about connecting with others and learning to express herself in everything she does. "Much of my work is inspired by past struggles with depression and OCD," she said.
Sarah is the founder of Climate NOW, a youth-led group dedicated to bringing awareness to the climate movement and empowering our youth to take action, and Broadway Speaks Up, a platform to inspire Broadway performers to speak up for climate justice. Sarah and her team at ClimateNOW educate young people about climate change and encourage them to stand up for justice through events and school-based programs across the country. "Climate change is an issue of life or death," she said. "If we as a society do not act urgently to reduce rising carbon emissions, our future will look grim, to say the least. I am passionate about climate justice because it encompasses all social justice issues and directly ties into my future generation.
"If we as a society do not act urgently to reduce rising carbon emissions, our future will look grim, to say the least."
Sarah was honored for her Environmental work through The ConversationaLIST, our honoree list recognizing exceptional Gen Z'ers making an impact by using their voices for good. “I devote myself entirely to protecting our planet and building resilience and confidence among youth,” Sarah said.
Sarah advises other Gen Z'ers looking to use their voice for good to learn more about other people who are taking action to help others. "Understanding that I wasn't the only person under 18 fighting for social justice helped me find the confidence that my voice mattered," she said. "Everyone of us has something to contribute and share with the world - including you."
Although she acknowledges that the future is always uncertain, Sarah hopes to keep growing Climate NOW and eventually release a book documenting her experience and advice to young people. "I hope my legacy will live through the young people that I impact," she said. "I want to leave behind an army of powerful youth fighting to make the world a better place."
When she's not organizing in her community, you can find Sarah singing along to her favorite broadway show tunes or hiking with her dogs. Amid the pandemic, she values the opportunity to practice self-care and accept things as they come. "Before this pandemic, I had a hard time accepting when things didn't go as I had planned," she said. "Now, I feel confident that I can pivot and grow when things don't go as planned.
Sarah is grateful to The Conversationalist, which she describes as a breath of fresh air in the toxic world of social media, for creating space for Gen Z to come together and learn and converse about the issues that impact them most.
Sarah believes that Gen Z can build a more unified world through conversations about complex topics. "We must be open to discussing taboo topics and breaking down stigmas," she said. "We can unify once we address the inequalities faced by communities across the world and begin working to build a society that accepts all people, regardless of their identity."
“I try my best not to hold any preconceived biases or judge a person before I have heard their story."
Sarah seeks to break open her echo chamber by introducing herself to a range of opinions in her work.“I try my best not to hold any preconceived biases or judge a person before I have heard their story,” she said. “I challenge myself to be open to other ideas other than my own. Going into every day being open to changing my own beliefs helps me better understand the people around me and improve my self-worth.”
All of our gratitude goes to Sarah Goody as she promotes sustainability and empowers the people around her. Keep up with her on Instagram to learn more about her work and how you can get involved with Climate NOW and Broadway Speaks Up.