Apr 23, 2024 - Energy & Environment

Youth-led climate group gets a boost from Google's philanthropic arm

Illustration of Google's logo with the Earth replacing one of the "o"'s.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Google's philanthropic arm is making one of its first rounds of funding for a youth-led climate organization to Climate Cardinals.

Why it matters: The donation itself is a signal that youth-led groups are maturing and gaining in momentum, as young people grow impatient with the pace and scope of action.

Zoom in: Headed up by prominent climate activist Sophia Kianni, Climate Cardinals is focused on breaking language barriers in the climate movement. It also educates and empowers young people to tackle the climate crisis.

  • The group plans to use the $400,000 in funding from Google.org to bolster its ongoing work, and help it expand.
  • In a statement, the group noted that youth-led climate groups only have received about 0.76% of the funding going to this cause.
  • Climate Cardinals, which was founded in 2020, claims a global network of 14,000 volunteers who help educate others about climate change.
  • The new money has already allowed the group to hire their first full-time employee, according to special projects director Sophia Suganuma.

The intrigue: Climate Cardinals has a different focus from other youth-oriented climate groups, most of which are aimed more at pressuring leaders to act on the issue, and some use far more confrontational tactics.

What they're saying: "Because young people stand to lose the most if we fail to combat climate change, youth-led organizations like Climate Cardinals have to be at the forefront of the fight for climate justice," Kianni said in a statement.

  • "Our aim is to ensure that we are diversifying, expanding, and ensuring the overall sustainability of climate solutions, and our funding for Climate Cardinals is a step in that direction," Google chief sustainability officer Kate Brandt said in a statement.
Go deeper