Jendayi Jones is one of the young generations who is very concerned about the environment. Her parents were aware and concerned about the environment so she and her brother were also aware of the problems caused by climate change and pollution since a child. At her home in Chicago, Illinois she recycles composts also use energy-saving light bulbs and generally takes all energy and waste reduction measures.


Until Jones’s final year in high school, she thought that everyone understood the environment and would take personal action to reduce their impact on the earth. However, it seems not as she imagined. At the beginning of her freshman year, she began organizing with the University of Chicago Climate Action Network (UCAN) and since then she has increasingly realized that the fight against climate change must be political.


Jendayi Jones and Her participation at the University of Chicago Climate Action Network

UCAN is a coalition of students dedicated to ending fossil fuel consumption as quickly as possible politically. They say politically feasible because, in the end, technological and economic challenges are far smaller than political challenges.


The organization was founded in September 2010 at the University of Chicago as a branch of political action from a campus-based environmental group, the Green Campus Initiative (GCI). Unlike other environmental groups on campus, UCAN organizes around political campaigns to put pressure on elected officials and leaders in the community to take action against climate and environmental injustice. In May 2011, UCAN officially separated from GCI and became an official student group recognized by the Chicago University.


In its first years, UCAN connected students with environmental campaigns in the greater Chicago region, working with organizations such as the Clean Power Coalition and Sierra Club to work on campaigns such as successfully closing 2 coal-fired power plants in Chicago ( the Clean Power Ordinance), preventing Keystone Pipeline, and urging the IL state congress to fund the Deceptive Coal Education and Marketing Program.


UCAN has worked on campaigns ranging from fracking to divestment of University of Chicago endowments from fossil fuels. Members of this organization have attended environmental conferences across the country such as Power Shift and Divestment Student Network Conference, and participated in actions such as the historic People’s Climate History in New York City and demonstrations throughout Chicago, and have become active leaders in various campaigns in all over Chicago.


The dream of Jendayi Jones

Jones pointed out that any government and institution should no longer support companies that pollute and use people living in low-income areas. Much of the work done by UCAN focuses on choosing the right officials and caring about environmental impacts. SHe also encouraged laws that would prioritize the environment above the interests of the company and urged school schools to stop supporting the fossil fuel industry.


In the end, Jendayi Jones believes that the community-based environmental care movement will lead to a system where our earth is respected and also supports a more sustainable society.


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