Welcome to the Evolving Man Project’s “Evolved Man of the Week” profile. Each week we will highlight an individual that embodies what it means to be an evolved person, famous and non-famous individual alike. The world needs to know their stories and deeds. This week’s honor goes to youth climate and environmental activist, the co-deputy partnerships director for the youth-led climate movement, Zero Hour, lead organizer for Youth Climate Strike LA, and executive director of OneUpAction, Kevin J. Patel.
At the age of 12, Kevin was diagnosed with arrhythmia, a condition in which the heart beats outside its usual pattern. Patel didn’t smoke or do drugs. He didn’t have obesity, diabetes, or high blood pressure. He started looking for reasons this might have happened, and one answer was right around him: where he lived in South Central Los Angeles. Research classifies neighborhoods like his as “sacrifice zones”—places where residents, often low-income and/or people of color, live close to freeways, factories, and oil wells. That’s where environmental inaction and damage have resulted in arrhythmia-stoking levels of smog. And that, at least in Patel’s mind, needs to change.
Kevin has been a climate activist for over 5 years fighting for his fellow Angelenos and students alike so that students and community members are aware of the climate crisis and its effects on their everyday lives. Kevin has joined numerous organizations that commit to what he believes in. He is passionate about fighting for his local community and his generation as a student and youth leader who has personally been impacted by the climate crisis.
And the few years that he has been fighting to bring awareness of this issue and educate his community, Kevin has already made an impact and had become the Downtown LA Neighborhood Council Sustainability Liaison and has also joined many other Youth lead Coalitions on spreading awareness. Kevin is building bridges for youth to get involved in government by fighting to create a youth climate commission to give voices to youth leaders within his community.
Here is Kevin in his own words about solidarity across movements:
“When we’re looking at the climate crisis, we’re not only looking at the warming of the planet, we’re looking at how BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities are being most affected right now,” … “We love to separate the issues of climate justice and social justice, but that’s just wrong.”
We at the Evolving Man Project wish Kevin continued success as he fights for environmental justice and the impacts of environmental racism across the globe. Today we honor Kevin J. Patel as the Evolved Man of the Week.