On this Earth Day, 2021, I thought it would be appropriate to tell you all about a growing movement in the city of Pittsburgh focused on climate justice. I am a recent graduate of W&J, a member of the class of 2020, and a member of the Gen-Z Visionary Collective. 

The city of Pittsburgh boasts one of the worst air qualities in the entire world— this is a result of our past industrialization, geographic location, pollution in our rivers, and continuing air, water, and ground pollution by corporations in our area. Due to our extremely poor air quality, people living in the city of Pittsburgh are at an increasingly high risk of developing cancer and other illnesses, and cases of asthma among inner city residents are rising to even higher numbers, especially among the students of the Pittsburgh public schools. These alarming conditions of our city are what sparked the creation of Friday’s for Future Pittsburgh, a small group focused on striking every Friday to protest the unwillingness of local and national officials and corporations to adhere to guidelines and practices to slow the deterioration of our planet. Two years later, out of Friday’s for Future, the Gen-Z Visionary Collective was born, encompassing the mission of Fridays for Future, with some updated demands. 

We are Pittsburgh-based members of generation Z, focused on bringing awareness of our global climate crisis through direct action, community building, mutual aid, and more. We strive to create noise which highlights the intersections of climate justice with racial justice, the carceral system, the global capitalist machine, healthcare, the rape of the “global south” by the American empire, our class system, the exploitation of women and children, and more. 

While our collective itself is newly formed, our members have all been active in their own education of climate justice, and that of their respective communities, as well. We have come together to show the city of Pittsburgh and the world that we will not stand for the destruction of our planet while megamillion corporations like UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh not only refuse to immediately divest from fossil fuels, but in fact continue to invest into these industries which are killing our planet. 

While this is our first summer as a collective, we know it is the first of many, and we will be on the streets of Pittsburgh to protest the innumerable injustices which our system perpetuates, ultimately ending in the destruction of our Mother Earth. We hope you will join us. For more information, please follow us on Instagram @genzvisionarycollective