Youth vs. Apocalypse! NOAA Saves New England Coral Reefs, Meet Climate Champions Isha Green and Oceana.Org

by | Aug 16, 2021 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Youth vs. Apocalypse! Plus NOAA saves New England coral reefs. Meet climate champions Isha Green and Oceana.Org.




 Youth versus Apocalypse! Sounds like a monster movie thriller, right? It just might be. The monster is climate change and the intrepid underdogs are America’s youth.  But guess what, America’s youth got this. YVA started as a group of Oakland youth, supported by adults in their community, using direct action and lobbying to fight a proposed coal terminal in their city. The group then expanded its focus to other climate justice issues. It was co-founded by Oaklander Isha Green. (more about her in a moment) After a video with youth from Youth Vs Apocalypse pushing Senator Dianne Feinstein to support the Green New Deal went viral, YVA students organized press conferences, gave interviews, wrote Op Eds, and developed a website. YVA has organized thousands of students from around the Bay Area, and has connected with dozens of labor and community groups, many of whom took climate action for the first time. In September 2019,a crowd of 30,000 led the largest youth-oriented climate march in American history.  

Youth Vs Apocalypse members have supported climate actions across the state, taken leadership on local and statewide campaigns, and continue their presence in national media. Youth vs Apocalypse offers good information on its website for how to create a YVA club at one’s school, including curriculum resources. If you’re interested, there’s even a way to sign up for a classroom presentation by a YVA rep. For more information, surf on over to and click on the link at the bottom of this story in this episode.  




Howard University freshman Isha Green is already a veteran climate change fighter and she hasn’t even started college yet. She began her career in her hometown of Oakland, CA as a high school freshman.

That’s when Isha got wind of the intended construction of a new coal terminal at the port of Oakland. She didn’t just whine about the damaging effects coal dust would have on her community, the mostly Black and brown citizens of Oakland. She started a protest movement. She and her peers publicly protested construction of the terminal. Their stance, along with alliances with the Sierra Club, NoCoalOakland and others, moved the City of Oakland to uphold a 2016 ban on construction of a coal terminal, citing adverse health issues related to coal storage and transfer in surrounding cities.

Her success there led Isha to co-found Youth vs. Apocalypse, a diverse group of young climate justice activists working together to lift the voices of youth, in particular youth of color and working class youth. Their collective action aims to fight for a livable climate and an equitable, sustainable, and just world. Youth vs. Apocalypse gained international attention when videos of its young activists demanding Senator Dianne Feinstein’s support of the Green New Deal went viral, leading Isha to become known as a powerful leader fighting to reverse the climate crisis through community organizing, protests, and legislative change.

Green recently led the largest youth climate strike in the United States. She and YvA successfully lobbied CA Governer Gavin Newsom to issue a moratorium on fracking permits in 2019. Organized protest runs in the family. In an interview with People Magazine, she recalled listening to stories of her grandfather’s activism during the Civil Rights era of the 1960s. “I felt like I had it in my blood,” she said. As for the coal terminal construction in Oakland? The fight continues. And even from her perch at Washington DC’s Howard University, you can bet Isha Green will be on the front lines.

DEEPER DIVE: YouthVs.Apocaplypse, The Guardian, Teen Vogue






Did you know that restoring the oceans could feed one billion people a healthy seafood meal every day? So says the website The organization was founded after a 1999 commissioned study revealed that less than one half of one percent of all resources spent by US environmental nonprofits was spent on ocean advocacy. Pretty paltry.  

Given that the oceans account for the primary protein supply for over 3.1 billion people daily, and given that human beings have dumped over 8 billion pounds of plastics into oceans since the 1950s, that number seems absurdly small. That’s why a group of leading foundations like The Pew Charitable Trusts, Oak Foundation, Marisla Foundation (formerly Homeland Foundation), Sandler Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund collaborated to create Oceana in 2001. Its mission is to make the world’s oceans as rich, healthy and abundant as they once were. It does that through what it calls “strategic, directed campaigns that achieve measurable outcomes which will help make our oceans more biodiverse and abundant.”

Since its inception, Oceana claims over 225 campaign wins and to have protected almost 4 million square miles of ocean habitat. Most recently, in June 2021, it helped to protect over 25,000 square miles of New England deep-sea coral reefs from destructive fishing. 

DEEPER DIVE:, NOAA, Charity Navigator



New coral protections are scheduled to take effect in the waters off New England this month. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has approved a final rule that designates particular coral areas on Georges Bank and in the Gulf of Maine as protected. One of the new rules establishes the Georges Bank Deep-Sea Coral Protection Area, which is located on the outer continental shelf in New England waters, located mostly southeast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The protected zone prohibits bottom-tending commercial fishing gear, with the exception of certain kinds of crab traps, NOAA officials said. It also creates a dedicated habitat research area called the Jordan Basin Dedicated Habitat Research Area, south of the Maine coast.

NOAA says the corals are “important sources of habitat for many species of fish and invertebrates, including commercially important fish species.” Environmental groups have also championed the coral protections. Oceana senior campaign manager Gib Brogan said in a statement that the creation of protected zones is tantamount to “closing 25,000 square miles of ocean bottom habitat to destructive fishing” and “is a significant win for deep-sea corals in the Atlantic.”

DEEPER DIVE: NOAA, APNews, Bangor Daily News