Purpose of First Here, Then Everywhere:
First Here, Then Everywhere is an online platform to highlight the work and narratives of young climate activists. Each month, a different youth-led venture is featured on the site to showcase how young people are taking action to stand up for they love and confront the climate crisis. You can also read interviews with the leaders of these groups to gain insights into why and how they do what they do.
The blog focuses on critiques, thoughts, and resources on the modern climate movement and the role of youth in mitigating climate change. Run by Chloe Maxmin and based on her experiences with climate activism, you will find both resources and analytical posts–all centered around the climate movement.
Origins of First Here, Then Everywhere:
My name is Chloe Sophia Maxmin (24), and I founded First Here, Then Everywhere in 2007. I have been a climate activist since I was 12 years old. Growing up on a farm in Midcoast Maine, I have always loved my home. When I was twelve, I learned that the largest real estate developer in the country–Plum Creek–wanted to build marinas, golf course, hundreds of house lots, and helipads all over Maine’s pristine North Woods. I couldn’t bear the thought of my home being destroyed by unnecessary development. So I took action testifying at public hearings, writing for local papers, and joining forces with local environmental organizations.
When I arrived at my rural Maine high school, I quickly learned that there was no environmental club. But I wanted to involve my peers with the effort to stop Plum Creek. So I started the Climate Action Club. Our mission was to provide opportunities for people in our school and community to fight climate change. We started off as just another small town youth club. Through our passion and dedication, we managed to galvanize a movement in our school and community. We were the first school in the state to install solar panels as a result of student effort–not from government subsidies. We organized the largest reusable bag campaign in Maine, saving 700,000 plastic bags annually. We were filmed for the Sundance Channel’s documentary series “Big Ideas For A Small Planet.” And much more happened.
At Harvard College, I co-founded Divest Harvard in Fall 2012, a student-run campaign calling on Harvard to divest its endowment from fossil fuel companies. Harvard has the largest private educational endowment in the world–totaling $36.4 billion–and therefore has a duty to be a responsible global citizen and investor. Divest Harvard began with three students. We organized the first student vote on fossil fuel divestment in history. A decisive 72% of Harvard students voted to divest. From that point onward, the campaign only grew—teach-ins, forums, rallies, petition deliveries, media campaigns, research, over 260 faculty signatories, over 1,500 alumni supporters, and a fund for alumni to withhold donations until Harvard divests. Our escalation involved two blockades, a 72-hour fast, a sit-in, a lawsuit, and Harvard Heat Week—six days of civil disobedience in Harvard Yard. We met with members of the Harvard Corporation, the Harvard Management Company, and Harvard’s President Faust multiple times. Within three years, our movement grew to over 70,000 people.
These are the two experiences in my life of what I call First Here, Then Everywhere. I learned that one person can make a difference–no matter how small their town or no matter how big the opposition. FHTE serves as a platform to spread this message of empowerment but, most importantly, as a way to showcase, highlight, and celebrate all the youth climate activists who are creating their own movements and “First Here, Then Everywhere” in their communities.