Uplift connects, trains, and mobilizes young people for climate justice.
Our work is rooted in grassroots communities, desert landscapes, and precious waters of the Colorado Plateau and greater Southwest.
Uplift started as a small for-youth-by-youth environmental gathering in the spring of 2015. Since then, we have evolved as a unifier and amplifier of the Southwest’s youth-led climate justice movement. We are named after the geologic process that led to the rise of the Colorado Plateau. Like the high desert, we, as young people, are rising.
Learn more about us and our vision for the future.
WHere we Organize
When I was a kid, I learned that my family, my ancestors, had gone “extinct,” that in between the diseases that Europeans had brought over and Cortez and Columbus, the Maya people or civilization had disappeared. Of course, I learned plenty about my other ancestors, my Europeans ancestors, in fact I even remember re-enacting the Mayflower in sixth grade. However, as the daughter of a Guatemalan immigrant, returning to Guatemala was difficult for a number of reasons, and so I believed this lie. I heard my father speaking his dialect to his parents on the phone numerous times, a dialect that might be mistaken for an Asian language. Of course this did not line up with that I had been told in textbooks, and I chose to believe them over my father.
I now understand that the pain and abuse my family experienced is interconnected with different forms of oppression, and that the harm we inflict on the Earth mimics the harm done to each other. Together we can flourish by supporting each other through community and directing a conscious awareness to the impact we have on one another, Earth, and all life. For all of our healing: Earth is not for sale; water is not for sale; our lives are not for sale. We cannot and will not run Earth and life by profit anymore. We will protect life, each other, water, Earth.
“A long fought for victory in the struggle for indigenous land rights in Eastern Africa has been underway over the course of the past few weeks in Southern Kenya. The Maasai Mau Forest, East Africa’s largest and most important watershed and a site of incredible cultural and ecological significance, is finally being liberated from the thousands of settlers who have been occupying and desecrating it under the orders of the current neocolonial government since the onset of the 1950’s. […] ”
“Uplift is a movement of young people on the Colorado Plateau who are actively working for climate justice in the Southwest. Uplift 2018, a conference unlike many others, helped to facilitate the regional climate justice movement. Set up on Cedro Peak Campground near Albuquerque, New Mexico, the climate justice conference included plenty of spaces for connection with the land, other conference-goers, and oneself. […]”
“My first memory of the land is a sunburnt mesa. Blue sky and orange dirt. The sky is visible from horizon to horizon, vibrant and unimpeded. I look up and see a brush stroke of thin, milky blue clouds that swirl in unison with the orange underneath me. The texture of the dirt is dynamic, producing reverberations of grit between my toes and softness underneath my arches. Every grain is its own hue, small pieces of glass that are translucent when held to the sun.”
“On a nondescript patch of grass in New York, on the morning of April 14, 2018, an accomplished civil rights lawyer and beloved father, husband and community member sat down and calmly and lit himself on fire. The note he left to the world named fossil fuels and climate change as the reason. […]”
“It’s a bright and breezy afternoon in Flagstaff and I’ve spent the morning drinking coffee with a human friend and three pup friends. I’m getting really excited about leaving next week for a yoga teacher training in Costa Rica. I’ve been committed to a yoga practice for the last several years, but I am feeling a renewed curiosity: why is this work my work? how can I practice yoga with a decolonial framework? what does my yoga practice mean to me, particularly in this moment of feeling immersed in thinking about climate chaos and living on the Colorado Plateau?”
“On a Friday evening in Flagstaff, this poem was shared to a crowd of young people grappling with our current climate crisis through storytelling. Stories were shared throughout the night of dying aspen, desecrated mountains, and deadly cancer, as well as clear visions for the future and the process of getting where we want to be. […]”
"On Sunday November 5th, thousands dawned white jumpsuits and marched towards the last coal mine in Bonn, Germany, occupying it for the full day and shutting down operations completely. This beautifully executed civil uprising, called Ende Gelände (which means “Here and no further” in German), was one of the largest demonstrations of its kind. I had the opportunity to march alongside German activists with other Uplifters and reflect in awe about the scale of people power and potential for saving our climate through mass uprising. […]”
“One could say Uplift has been millions of years in the making. The major uplift which lifted the Colorado Plateau from sea-level to several thousand feet, the continental drift that moved the Plateau from the equator, and that separated the Plateau from Pangea to the American continent, all came together to physically place the Plateau where it is today. But these are just the geologic forces that made the Colorado Plateau. […]”