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 Costanza Gonzalo

I'm the Communications Lead and Designer focused on developing the Active Allies program and this website. I believe in empowering our generation to turn their climate activism into a sustainable career and to ensure a livable future for all.

About me

In addition to Active Allies, I am also a Climate Corps Fellow where I work towards making the UC Hastings campus more sustainable. I’m a UC Davis graduate with a B.S in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning. I am passionate about grassroots organizing, bringing people together, and addressing climate change at the intersection of science, technology, politics, and social justice.

 

Organizations I work with & support 

 

 

My lightbulb moment 

During my first experience with the Sunrise Movement, in August of 2019, I participated in the West Summit where I first realized the power behind this movement of young climate activists. For the first time, I didn’t feel alone or hopeless. Instead I felt empowered and able to redirect my climate anxiety into very meaningful, powerful actions. That day we demanded the Democratic National Committee hold a presidential climate debate. Though they voted against it, we sparked national attention and motivated CNN to hold the 7-hour Climate Town Hall. Afterwards, I went back to school at UC Davis, eager to spread my new hopeful perspectives to build a brand new hub. Throughout my college career, I’ve been constantly reminded how we should have taken action, well, yesterday. My professors mainly emphasize the details about the problem but rarely the solutions. I’d never heard we could reverse global warming until very recently. I came to realize I needed to outsource my learning to more productive and positive sources. Now that I’m diving deep into the ecosystem of climate organizations in the Bay Area, I’ve become more confident that hundreds of incredibly smart people here are working on these tough problems. Not only will we survive — we will thrive.

People I read & follow 

 

My Past Year as a Climate Project Manager

While I was finishing up my last year of college, in January 2020, I joined the Active Allies team. I felt energetic and hopeful about starting a career in combating climate change and restoring our environment. As the communications lead and designer, I’ve learned the importance of an organization’s media presence in order to fulfill the potential for progress and connections. I did not have any previous web design experience, so it was extremely fun to discover and develop skills that expanded Active Allies outreach exponentially.

 

As Spring and Summer rolled in, our organization had to reflect on our objective and how we fit in the solutions for intersecting crises. Back in September, I felt overwhelmed by the pandemic, elections, and the loss of Black and Indigineous lives due to police brutality and systemic racism.

 

The rest of the text below is from September, and it demonstrates my raw thoughts and emotions — frustration and hope:

 

The COVID-19 lockdown began on my 21st birthday and my last quarter of college. These past six months I’ve had three voices in my head constantly arguing. One is telling me to be grateful that I am healthy and safe, another one is telling me to be disappointed that certain big moments in my life were taken away from me and I’ll never get them back, and the third one is telling me to feel guilty because there are countless people suffering more than me. It’s been incredibly difficult to process everything that is happening and it’s been inevitable to start the day wondering, “What crazy thing will happen today and how will our incompetent representatives react?” I don’t have a mechanism to manage all this craziness other than taking it day by day, and focusing my energy the most on things that I have a direct impact on. I can volunteer to get progressive candidates in office. I can organize actions that target politicians. I can donate to bail funds. I can have conversations with family members and friends about racism and climate change and how they’re intertwined. 

It is evident that we’re at a fork in time. The upcoming election will result in either fascism or a sliver of hope for a livable future.

 

I hope, as people are organizing, voting, and striking, that we understand the intersections in today’s crisis and how they disproportionately hurt some more than others. I hope that similarly to the beginning of the pandemic, we can all come together across different cities and countries to work towards a society that works for everyone. I hope today’s alarms will actually be stopped instead of snoozed. 

I am to live in agreement with my values caring for people and our shared environment. I also aspire to live with a positive attitude and not blame myself for all the global events that I have little control of. 

I appreciate authors such as Eric Holthaus, Margaret Klein Salomon, and Emily Atkin for giving me hope for what the future could look like while still being realistic. I appreciate members of the Sunrise Movement for inspiring me and giving me the energy to keep fighting, and I appreciate Felix and Anna for believing in me and allowing me to work and learn in a fulfilling environment.