Beehive 5 Under 25 Awardee | Kiman Kaur

30u30

Photo credit: Danni Washington. From left to right: Lucila, Connel, Ankita, Leandra, and Danni. https://naaee.org/.../ee-30-under-30-young-leaders-making


 

Congratulations to the 2018 Beehive 5 Under 25 Awardees!

USEE is pleased to announce the 2018 Awardees of the first annual Beehive 5 Under 25 recognition program! Modeled after NAAEE's 30 Under 30, the Utah Beehive 5 Under 25 program recognizes individuals, 25 years old or younger, who are game changers in their communities. These young people are taking on leadership positions to make a difference for the planet. They are engaging their communities, building relationships, and using the power of education to create change.

These youth are also recognizing the importance of diversity, inclusion, and equity and applying those principles to their work.

We asked our 2018 Beehive 5 Under 25 to answer the following questions:


 

Kiman Kaur, Salt Lake City

Kiman Kaur Headshot

Tell us a bit about your professional and personal background. What is your current professional role, particularly as it relates to environmental education?

My name is Kiman Kaur, and I'm a first generation Punjabi Sikh woman. I graduated in May 2018 from the University of Utah with bachelor degrees in Gender Studies, and Environmental and Sustainability Studies. During my time at the University, I worked as an intern for the Women's Resource Center's Go Girlz Community Initiative where I facilitated workshops and created dialogue with young women who were interested in pursuing higher education. Working in this space with young women provided me with an opportunity to discuss the disproportionate impacts of climate change and environmental degradation on marginalized communities, particularly communities of color. Centering women of color who were and have been leaders in environmental justice movements around the world, was one of many ways that I challenged neoliberal social constructions of the environment. My role as a facilitator and as a woman of color, was to make sure that the young women I worked with felt like that had a place in outdoor environments, and that this place was accessible and welcoming to them and their lived experiences. In addition, I worked as a campus organizer for Planned Parenthood Association of Utah where I incorporated environmental justice in my activism and organizing efforts for reproductive justice. I was and have been heavily grounded in grassroots community organizing work with many different organizations and offices in Utah and across the nation where I advocate for racial justice, reproductive justice, and environmental justice.

What inspired you to become a champion for the environment / environmental education? And/or what motivates you about the work you’re doing?

I am motivated in my work because I believe that all living beings should be able to live in safe and healthy environments that are free from all forms of violence. I saw and continue to see the impacts of environmental racism in my own neighborhood and in the greater Salt Lake Valley. I hear and read about how communities of color will be (and currently are) the first to suffer the impacts of climate change. I'm tired of seeing marginalized communities suffer from systems and problems that they probably had little responsibility in creating. The existence of environmental injustice is why I am doing the work that I do. This work didn't come upon me randomly or by accident. My motivation comes from my own lived experiences as a woman of color who grew up in Taylorsville, Utah. I used environmental education as one way to start making sense of my own experiences and to also show the interconnectedness of people and places.

What advice would you give to the next generation of leaders that are looking to bring about positive change in their communities through EE?

I would urge the next generation and the current generation of leaders to really know and understand the role/impact of women of color in fights for environmental justice. Women of color across the world have organized, fought, and won brilliant battles to protect our ecosystems and our people. This lack of awareness erases the work of women of color and also erases the intersections between racial justice, reproductive justice, and environmental justice. I think that really seeing and appreciating the work of women of color organizing for environmental justice will provide better representation.

What pro-environmental behavior do you think would make a big impact if everyone in the world started doing it?

I think that decolonization is something that anyone could do that would make a big impact on the environment. For me, remembering the way my ancestors survived and thrived helps me contextualize what I really need to also survive and thrive in this world where there is so much technology and so little happiness and love. Decolonization will help to overcome many injustices.

If you could be any animal or plant, what would you be and why?

I would want to be a bird. I love that birds are capable of such vast movement. Being able to quickly move into different environments and settings whenever I wanted is something I wish I could do. I also like that birds travel in community when they realize that a certain place is no longer fit for their survival. The balance between being your own individual at any distance and also knowing you have a community to move with is something that I really appreciate in birds. I feel like birds understand movement building in such a beautiful way.

 

    


Click here to return to see all the 2018 Utah Beehive 5 Under 25 Awardees.

 



This program was made possible thanks to the generous sponsorship of:

quinney logo dkgreen 1    Quinney College of Natural Resources

Melissa & Trent Halvorsen

Jack Greene



Join us at the 2018 Utah Environmental Education Conference and hear about the great work these 5 individuals are doing during the Utah Beehive 5 Under 25 Panel, September 14, 2018.

If you have any questions, please contact Jackie Lowry at programs@usee.org. 

 

What is USEE?

The Utah Society for Environmental Education (USEE), a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, has been a statewide leader in promoting high quality environmental education in Utah since 1981. USEE encourages environmental literacy by teaching Utahans how to think, not what to think, about the environment.

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