Salt Lake City, Utah
After graduating from a high school in Utah’s Davis County, a district that has some of the worst air pollution in Utah but that doesn’t prioritize climate and environment education, Muskan Walia made a commitment to understand the impacts of climate change and to work toward climate justice both in schools and in the broader community. In 2020, Walia, in collaboration with the Sierra Club Utah Chapter, launched the Davis School District’s first student-led Clean Energy Schools Campaign, an effort to get the school district to commit to a 100 percent clean electricity transition by 2030, and in all energy sectors by 2040. Walia and her team wrote and helped pass a revised policy for energy efficiency, electrification, and building upgrades for the district that received national recognition. The campaign has helped pass clean energy resolutions in several other Utah school districts as well.
Walia, 21, also helps lead the Utah Youth Environmental Solutions — a network of organizers and activists who are working to activate Utah youth for climate justice. She coordinates an annual place-based climate justice curriculum, which mobilizes and equips young people with the skills and tools they need to organize clean energy campaigns in their school districts and communities.