How environmental injustice in the Bronx convinced one student to organize a climate strike

ByAlex Zimmerman

To Leslie Delgado, the fight against climate change isn’t just an abstract global problem: It’s local and it’s personal.

A Bronx native and a high school senior, Delgado has seen the effects of air pollution and researched the high asthma rates in the borough, where children are more likely to go to school near a highway than in other parts of the city.

That’s one big reason Delgado and other members of her school’s environmental club are helping organize a walkout at KIPP NYC College Prep High School. They are joining thousands of other students across the city in the Global Climate Strike, which will take place in Foley Square, in Lower Manhattan, with the goal of raising awareness about environmental issues. The New York strike and others like it across the globe come in advance of Monday’s U.N. Climate Action Summit.

“I really just was astonished by the environmental injustice Bronx residents like myself are facing, and I was, from there, very determined and committed to addressing the lack of policy that is being made,” she said.

The environmental club at KIPP NYC College Prep High School

Education officials — including those at KIPP — have granted students permission to leave school to attend the strike, something Delgado says has helped give her organizing efforts more steam.

On the eve of Friday’s protest, we caught up with Delgado about what she hopes the climate strike accomplishes, how she has educated herself about climate change, and the challenge of sustaining political advocacy.

To read the full interview click here