Building Power through Grassroot Climate Activism
A reflection by Morgan King, Climate Campaign Coordinator
Hey there! I’m Morgan King, the Climate Campaign Coordinator at the West Virginia Rivers Coalition. I am the newest team member and wanted to take a little time to introduce myself to you and share some of my favorite moments over the last three months.
Having grown up in Charleston, I’ve always felt immense pride for our state and a personal responsibility to work towards making it a better, safer place to live for all of our fellow West Virginians. As a teenager during the 2014 water crisis, I became outraged that safe water access is not always a guarantee for folks in our state. This influenced my decision to study civil engineering at WVU with a focus on water quality and access.
After finishing my undergraduate degree, I had the opportunity to live abroad for over three years on Fulbright and British Marshall Scholarships. It was quite the change to go from West Virginia’s “big city” to living and working in global capitals like Madrid and London. There, I expanded my academic education in environmental engineering and public policy while widening my cultural perspectives on the power of collective action on environmental issues.
I’m overjoyed to have found my way back home working on an issue that I’ve studied from an engineering and policy perspective and care very deeply about – climate change.
As the end of 2021 and my first three months at WV Rivers approaches, I’ve been reflecting on my experience with this incredible and fierce team of environmental advocates. I’ve been fortunate to take part in and coordinate some inspiring grassroots activities, and I want to share my thoughts with you on them.
During my first month I worked with our friends at the WV Climate Alliance to organize a Rally for Climate Action in Charleston. More than 100 people turned out in the cold and rain to share the message West Virginians do care about meaningful climate action. Folks of all backgrounds were present unified by the need to advocate for policy solutions that protect our beloved communities, mountains, and rivers from the impacts of human-induced climate change.
To follow up the success of the rally, we wanted to make sure that West Virginian voices continued to be amplified on the urgency of climate action. So, we worked with our allies again to collect nearly 1,000 names of West Virginians who want meaningful climate policy through grassroots advocacy campaigns. We delivered those grassroot actions to Senator Manchin’s Charleston office.
Throughout these events and my past couple months, I have been inspired by you all. To see so many folks involved in these actions (including many new faces and names!) has demonstrated that there is tremendous power in people coming together to work toward a common cause. While we all have different theories of change and perspectives on pathways to progress, I’ve seen firsthand that we all share a common value – the desire to support West Virginians and strengthen our state. I’m excited for the coming months and new year to see what we can accomplish together while advocating for West Virginia’s truly special rivers, hills, and people.
I’d love to hear from you! If you have questions about climate change, my experiences abroad, or grassroots organizing please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Send me an email at email@example.com.