The GenZ Trust Fund

The GenZ Trust Fund is a legislative pledge asking Florida's politicians to take climate action for GenZ's future.

Photo of This Is Zero Hour Orlando
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Written by

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Instagram: @orlandozerohour Website: http://zerohourorlando.org

Date You Started Your Project

06/2020

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Generation Z, especially youth with already marginalized identities, is the most affected by the impacts of climate change. The GenZ Trust Fund is a youth-led pledge created to ensure that Florida’s elected officials and candidates are willing to invest in GenZ’s future by advocating for a transition to renewable energy, preservation of natural resources, and sustainable agricultural practices that will reduce the impacts of climate change.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Our legislative plan carries four phases: building connections with NGOs, amplifying our pledge to State Senators and Representatives, connecting with local elected officials like commissioners and mayors, and gathering signees for our pledge. To carry all of this out successfully, we have partnered with the local non-profit Teens United Florida to help us build a volunteer base for us. With their help, we are planning on creating a volunteer base to help us handle outreach for our petition on change.org and partnerships with NGOs. As we build partnerships with these NGOs, we are supplying them with personalized graphics to post on social media and guidelines to share our petition to others. In the future, as we build and strengthen our community presence, we are hoping to organize a series of workshops to help our youth develop public speaking skills through storytelling. This would be in preparation for a youth lobby day in Florida’s Capitol Hill.

3. Please tell us how you are using science, technology, engineering or math to address your environmental challenge.

Our pledge is based on environmental studies advocating against the use of harmful agricultural practices and energy systems within the state of Florida. The GenZ Trust Fund is utilizing these research studies to ask Florida’s politicians to abandon age old habits towards climate action. With the request to turn down offers from fossil fuel lobbyists and to co-sponsor state bills like Florida’s HB97, we want to see our state politician’s open themselves up to green technology to create a green economy that can revitalize the state of Florida. Solutions to the climate crisis are completely scientific-based. With the GenZ Trust Fund, we are asking our state politicians to listen to the climate science released by the UN’s IPCC and take immediate action to reduce the impacts of climate change.

4. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

Last summer, our team organized a 5-week panel discussion on climate justice, with our Partner Ideas For Us. We covered 5 topics for our Central Florida audience: Renewable Energy, Food Waste, Food Systems (transforming our large-scale factory farms), Fast Fashion, and Environmental Racism. Continuously, the topic of legislative action, came up as a solution for the climate crisis. One of our panelists, Florida Representative Anna Eskamani, even described how important it was to bring attention to existing pieces of legislation like HB97 (which asks Florida to become 100% powered by renewable energy by 2050). With the context of the legislative inaction on climate change, we wanted to write framework outlining legislative actions for Florida’s politicians. GenZ Trust Fund is asking Florida’s politicians to take action on climate change to provide a future for my generation.

5. Video (Keep it simple, your phone on selfie-mode is great): Please upload a 1-minute video to YouTube that answers the following “I am stepping up to be a Changemaker because...”

6. Please highlight the key activities you have carried out to bring your project to life.

Last summer, we drafted our pledge so peers at Ideas For Us, a local state office, and the National This Is Zero Hour team could help us with revisions in the fall. We have also worked diligently to create a website outlining our mission and directing our partners and signees to our pledge. We have created a co-sponsorship plan for NGOs to uplift our campaign through social media. With 3 co-sponsors, we have started building a support network for resources like consulting.

7. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

The GenZ Trust Fund pledge is the first campaign specific to Florida’s legislature. As of now, Florida’s Governor has only addressed the protection of the Everglades as a concern to environmental damage. While our pledge continues to address the importance of the Everglades, it is the first environmental campaign advocating for agricultural solutions like green harvesting and the Farm System Factory Act as a basis for Florida’s climate action. This is the first environmental framework, specific to Florida, created to highlight the importance of a just transition towards these solutions.

8. Impact: In the last three months, please detail the impact your project has made.

After much revision, we've been able to finalize our draft and prepare for the partnerships phase of our pledge. As we completed forms for partnerships, we’ve able to sign with 3 NGO cosponsors who will help connect us with more youth and amplify our pledge and are predicting 5-10 more co-sponsors in the next month. With this project, we also aim to amplify youth voices who are caught in the shadows of legislative inaction. With the goal of uplifting marginalized youth, we have been building a volunteer base with 10 new dedicated volunteers that will help us spread word about our campaign and garner public attention.

9. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

In order to complete our goal of creating climate action at Florida’s Capitol Hill, we want to mobilize Florida schools with a day of action organized by Orlando Zero Hour. We will organize a day for Florida schools to send petitions and share their support of our pledge on social media. With this, we hope to gain support for our pledge and spread awareness of its potential within our communities. The more people that share this pledge, the more widespread its knowledge will become, making climate action more plausible than ever.

10. Please share how you have influenced other young people to get involved in your project and/or care about environmental sustainability.

Last summer, we organized a 5-week panel discussion where we connected with over 20+ activists and NGOs from around the world. Panel outreach was intense, but we were able to create a team of dedicated volunteers in the process. Now, we have been able to connect with TeensUnited Florida to create a volunteer base within Central Florida. We aim to instill passion and perseverance in our volunteers. As our team grows, we will develop teams across Florida to expand youth empowerment.

11. How would you partner with other changemakers to make a difference?

We strive to partner with NGOs, politicians, and most importantly, youth because the climate crisis will require teamwork unlike ever seen before. While building connections, we want to work one on one with new communities, to uplift one another’s goals and bring attention to their own, unresolved issues. While our focus is on youth, we will provide empowerment to all marginalized communities, because the climate crisis requires a focus on those who will be most affected.

12. How would you engage others who have never heard about your project to get their buy-in?

Frequent amongst social injustice is legislative inaction. If we continue to allow our agricultural and energy systems to emit harmful greenhouse gases and toxins, access to a livable life will become a marginalized issue. Everyone should have access to large-scale solutions against climate change. With Florida being a coastal state with fragile ecosystems, we want to make sure that individuals, with already marginalized identities, are provided with resources to take action on climate change.

14. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you? You’ll be able to select only one option.

  • Project Plan & Strategy

Are you employed, or directly related (grand-parents, parents, sibling) to a GM or Ashoka employee?

  • No

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

Evaluation results

5 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

Yes, absolutely! - 20%

Probably - 60%

Maybe - 20%

Probably not - 0%

No - 0%

2. CONNECTION to Environmental Sustainability

5 - Absolutely! It is totally clear that the solution is contributing directly to environmental sustainability and/or addressing climate change - 60%

4 — Yes, it establishes a connection to environment/ climate change but could be stronger - 20%

3 — Somewhat, the entry speaks to this environmental sustainability, but the direct impact is not well established - 0%

2 — Not really, the connection to environment/ climate is very weak - 20%

1 — No. The entry does not have a reference the solution’s impact on environment and/or climate change - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%

3. Is this entry CREATIVE?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 0%

4 - Yes, I think so - 20%

3 - Maybe - 60%

2 - Probably not. - 20%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Does this entry demonstrate a COMMITMENT to changemaking?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 100%

4 - Yes, I think so - 66.7%

3 - Maybe - 0%

2 - Probably not - 0%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Does this entry value CHANGEMAKING through collaboration with other stakeholders in its approach?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 40%

4 - Yes, I think so - 40%

3 - Maybe - 20%

2 - Probably not - 0%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

6. Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 0%

4- Yes, I think so - 40%

3- Maybe - 40%

2- Probably not - 20%

1- No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

7. FEEDBACK: What are the strengths of this project?

CONNECTION: You have a great understanding and personal connection to the problem - 60%

CREATIVITY: You have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful new solutions to aid environmental sustainability/combat climate change - 20%

COMMITMENT: You have a thoughtful plan for growing your business, and your founding team has a strong combination of leadership and knowledge-based skills - 80%

CHANGEMAKER QUALITY: You value thinking around how to activate other changemakers and empower them to care about your cause. You also have a clearly defined plan on how to collaborate across multiple stakeholders - 100%

IMPACT MEASUREMENT: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) and you have a plan for measuring impact - 20%

VIABLITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work from a financial perspective in the present and future - 0%

Other option - 0%

8. FEEDBACK: What are some areas for improvement for this project?

CONNECTION: Why you care about the environment/ climate was unclear – It would be great to elaborate on what this solution means to you, personally and how it affects you and/or your community. - 50%

CREATIVITY: Be more specific in your description of the research you have done into the past solutions to this problem and focus on how your solution is unique and innovative - 100%

COMMITMENT: Your plan for growing the organization can benefit from more specifics. How can you round out the various skills of your current leadership team to make the project a long-term success? - 0%

CHANGEMAKER QUALITY: Try to provide more insights into how you are activating changemakers and empowering them to innovate through your product or programming. How will they care about environment/climate if they currently do not? Think about how to create value for all stakeholders, not just immediate beneficiaries - 25%

IMPACT MEASUREMENT: Provide specific instances of your social impact and how you plan to measure impact – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, products and programming, and provide evidence of (or plan for) how to measure impact - 75%

VIABILITY: Make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 75%

Nothing – I thought everything was great! - 0%

Other option - 0%

5 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Justin Anderson
Team

Climate inaction is definitely a serious issue. Hope this spreads. Wishing you good luck, show them who’s inheriting the Earth!

- A Gen Z-er

Spam
Photo of Vivek Bharati
Team

Hi Gen Z Trust Fund team : Excellent initiative and good strategy to collaborate and take help from lawmakers. In the AI4Coyotes team, we plan to do an outreach to them as well. Would be great to learn from you folks. Wishing you all success.

Spam
Photo of Nick Christoforou
Team

I'm a firm believer that legislative action is necessary to quickly respond to climate change and love to see changemakers, such as yourselves, at the forefront! Like Carson mentions below, a large % of our population may not see the climate change issue the same way that we do. The law can change, and that will make a massive impact, however, to truly succeed we need to change the hearts and minds of everyone who doesn't see this as a threat. I'd ask a similar question...how can you inspire and 'reach' individuals who don't share the same views on climate change as you?

Spam
Photo of Carson McBain
Team

To curb the trajectory of climate change, we need our legislators to pass and implement progressive green policies, so you are rightly focused on them! You've articulated well your 4-step solution to getting this pledge signed and in the spotlight. I think your goal to unify people living in Florida and to connect with the schools there to demand climate accountability shows you are thinking systems-change. I do not have a policy influencing background, but I know that once you reach a critical mass and amplify the voices of so many, people tend to listen. I also loved your "climate clock" to track global adoption of renewable energy. I'll leave you with a question to explore - what are some ways you could win over people who are not especially concerned about climate change and bring them to see the magnitude of the problem? Are there any outreach activities or educational workshops you could offer to your community, in addition to what you're already doing? Keep up the great work!

Spam
Photo of Tia Johnston Brown
Team

I love your project. It has potential for system wide impact. Have you thought of packaging your model in a way that other youth in other states could also approach their politicians?