Lauren Landis is CCAN’s Hampton Roads Organizer. Here’s her story.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I was born in Virginia but grew up in Texas! I moved to Hampton Roads to attend William & Mary and then lived in the area after graduating with my Bachelor’s Degree in Government. I’ve worked for education, healthcare, and hunger relief nonprofits in Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Raleigh, North Carolina and am passionate about advocating for basic human rights. This led me to the mother of all basic rights, the right to a safe and healthy environment!
What woke you up to the climate crisis?
Focusing on hunger relief while I worked for the Food Bank of CENC started me on the personal journey to learn more about climate change. The agricultural ties to food banking really highlight how closely climate change and food scarcity are linked. I began to learn and research about the impact of climate change on food production around the world.
What impacts of climate change currently hit home to you?
As a resident of Hampton Roads, the impacts of climate change are always on my mind. Our coastal cities are endangered by sea rise and many residents will soon be in the flood path unless drastic actions are taken. In addition, I see daily evidence of the fossil fuel industry in our region when the coal train cars drive across the street from my home or when I pass the mountains of coal in Norfolk.
What brought you to CCAN?
I was looking for local ways to contribute to climate justice and CCAN is a great actor in the area. I was drawn to CCAN’s policy focus and activism to protect my region.
What has inspired you most working with CCAN?
CCAN has a saying of, “no permanent friends, no permanent enemies.” I think this mindset is particularly inspiring given our highly bipartisan political culture. I love CCAN’s flexibility to push for change using all tools and appealing to all individuals who might be able to help.
What have you contributed to bringing about a clean energy revolution that you are most proud of?
I am most proud of the small role I played in getting people to attend the local events held for the September global climate strike movement. I think this moment was pivotal in showing the public support for climate justice and it was awesome to recruit others and represent CCAN’s call for clean energy.
What do you hope to see happen in terms of climate in the next year?
I hope to see progress on Virginia’s path to joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) as I think it would be a big advancement towards a cleaner future. I also hope to keep meeting Hampton Roads residents who are curious or passionate about creating a cleaner, more sustainable culture in our region.
What do you like to do when you’re not working on climate change?
Most of my free time is spent with my family taking walks around our community! I also like to spend time reading, learning to bake, and sleeping as much as I possibly can :).
Who would you high five?
I would high five Mary Robinson! Her book, Climate Justice, was one of the first books that I read to learn more grassroots stories of individuals around the world affected by climate change. By simply relaying the stories of these frontline communities, she inspired me to seek out an organizer role. Mary Robinson has also established a Climate Justice Foundation (after her chapters as the Prime Minister of Ireland and UN Commissioner on Human Rights) and her career is a great example to me that it’s never too late to join the fight.