2023, Junior, Art
Climate Hero: Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, All We Can Save Project; Urban Ocean Lab
My Climate Hero is Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson. Dr. Johnson is an African American, female marine biologist from Brooklyn, New York. She is also a policy expert and ocean conservationist. Her other accomplishments include being the co-founder of The All We Can Save Project, the co-creator of the How to Save a Planet podcast, and the co-founder of Urban Ocean Lab. Urban Ocean Lab is a think tank created to find solutions for climate change and ocean policy in coastal cities. The name of Dr. Johnson’s think tank is what inspired my art. I was inspired to choose Dr. Johnson as my Climate Hero because I am also an African American female who resides in Brooklyn, New York, which also happens to be a coastal city. I don’t think that many people think of Brooklyn when thinking about coastal cities. Just like I don’t think many people think about African Americans or women when they think about marine biologists. As a student who attends a specialized middle school with about 5% Black students, I understand that representation matters. The process of creating this piece of art gave me a feeling of pride and hope. After doing research on climate change, I have learned that we all can and do make a difference, for good or for bad. While deciding what climate hero I wanted to focus on, I came across other Black women. I will tell my friends about these other heroes because maybe I can inspire another girl of color to enter this important field. She then can maybe inspire another girl, and so on. Dr. Johnson’s work makes me feel hopeful for the future. That is because I hear a lot on the news about climate change and global warming, but I don’t hear a lot about what people are doing about it.