As a kid growing up in Portland, Oregon, Luna Abadia was always curious about the nature around her. She carried a diary with her, which she called her “Book of Questions”, and filled it with observations of her world.
What if we sneeze? She wrote. Why is my dog’s nose wet?
She’s not sure if she ever answered all of her questions, but it piqued her interest in science and etymology.
But when she went to school and learned the realities of climate change, she was overcome by a “feeling of hopelessness” and a fear of what the world would look like as it ages.
She said she had many breakdowns because of the uncertainty, but now that she has found a way to change something, she is turning her fear into action.
“Climate action is not necessarily like sacrificing or debilitating,” Abadia said. “I think it’s more of an investment for my future. It definitely affects me, but I also no longer have mental breakdowns. I’ve learned to channel that fear into a sense of action and motivation. That kept me going and helped me deal with the immensity of this problem. “
Abadia, 17, is the founder of the Effective Climate Action Project, a youth-led environmental organization focused on promoting systemic solutions to climate change.
Abadia is GeekWires Junior Geek of the Month for July. The monthly award, presented by the Northern Trust, recognizes talented young scientists, innovators, creators and entrepreneurs in the Pacific Northwest.
Luna Abadia of the Effective Climate Protection Project. (Courtesy photo of Luna Abadia)
A large part of Abadia’s work on the Effective Climate Action Project is moderating climate simulation workshops. It also helps to promote the engagement of young people and provides information about steps that can be taken to combat climate change.
The project uses two computer models designed by MIT and Climate Interactive that allow participants to input various policy solutions to climate change, such as promoting afforestation or eliminating fossil fuels. The simulations allow not only young people but also business leaders to see the results of each of these solutions.
Abadia started the project last summer when the world was rocking from COVID-19. After a year, Abadia is still seeing the effects of climate change in the Pacific Northwest. She mentioned the recent heat wave, forest fires, and poor air quality, which have put climate change into focus for people.
Last year, the Effective Climate Protection Project organized 16 workshops for around 150 people. Now, Abadia said, her foundation is launching a global internship program to train young people to educate others about climate change and lead simulations.
Abadia was one of the winners of T-Mobile’s Changemaker Challenge. Her team raised $ 5,000 in seed capital and a trip to Bellevue, Washington, for the Changemaker Lab to develop action plans.
In the long term, Abadia sees her organization expanding its reach on social media. She hopes to be able to help people to reconcile individual and collective climate protection measures. She also hopes to provide school teachers with curricula for teaching climate change.
But Abadia is still a high school graduate and is busy applying for college. She hopes to establish a mentoring program as part of the Effective Climate Action Project to pass it on to more young people.
Luna Abadia as a young girl in the forest. (Courtesy photo by Luna Abadia)
Abadia isn’t sure what she’s going to study in college, but she’s interested in a lot of things. In addition to English, she speaks Spanish and Japanese. She spent time abroad as a student in Japan and loves learning about Japanese food and Japanese culture. Abadia continues to hope to be active in environmental policy and climate advocacy. She hopes to find the intersection of these in international relations.
Outside of work, Abadia loves hiking, running, reading, and writing. In the future she hopes to travel to Japan again and also to Colombia, where she has family.
Abadia said she wanted to tell other young people that they don’t have to set up their own organization to make a difference.
“Everyone has their own way of influencing climate change and other issues that are important to them,” Abadia said.
Nominate a junior geek
GeekWire will feature a new Junior Geek of the Month in profiles designed to show how they want to have a positive impact on the world through their geeky activities. In addition, they receive special recognition from our project partner Northern Trust.
Do you know an extraordinary junior geek aged 12 to 20 who is going to change the world? Submit a nomination.
Nominees must be Pacific Northwest residents and nominees under the age of 18 must provide information about their parents.
Read more about our previous Junior Geek of the Month winners.