It's a clear sign of the growing political clout of the youth climate movement.
If a week is a long time in politics, the past year has been an eternity for Jerome Foster. During 2019 and 2020, for 58 weeks in a row, the teenage student of computer science, was holding forlorn weekly protests outside the White House calling for action on the climate crisis. Now, aged 18, he has been ushered into the seat of American power to help craft climate policy.
In a sign of the growing political clout of the youth climate movement that has blossomed around the world in recent years, Foster has been included among a group of advisers to Joe Biden who will inform the US president on issues related to environmental justice, where low-income communities and people of colour face the greatest fallout from climate change and pollution.
“I didn’t expect this to happen so soon, it was like, ‘Wow, this is crazy,’” said Foster, who posted a tweet summing up the dramatic upgrade in his influence.
Foster added: “I’m the only person under 40 on the whole panel, so when I got there I was like, ‘Am I supposed to be here?’ But it was their intention to bring in the youth perspective on climate change. I was a bit startled at first but now I’m getting used to it.”