The Environment

Finding Your Movement: How Discovering Your Passion Can Lead to Societal Change

August 13, 2020  • Youth Lead Now! & Aspen Young Leaders Fellowship

For anyone doubting that young people can change the world, Leah Thomas is proving them wrong. At just 25 years old, Leah is leading the charge for Intersectional Environmentalism, a movement that advocates for and explores the relationship between social justice and environmental issues. As the only Black woman in her environmental studies major at Chapman University, Leah could no longer remain silent about the climate injustices disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable communities on Earth. Through her organization, The Intersectional Environmentalist, Leah and her team are committed to dismantling systems of oppression and the whitewashed narrative of environmentalism. Join Aspen Challenge: Chicago alumna Yalem Enqubahry and Aspen Young Leaders Fellow AbdulBasit Ajeigbe as they moderate a conversation with Leah about her work as well as the journey of discovering your passion, finding your voice, and the world that opens up when you’re not afraid to stand out in the crowd.

Download Leah Thomas’ speaker brief here

Next Step Curriculum

Leah Thomas
Intersectional Environmental Activist

Leah Thomas is an intersectional environmental activist and eco-communicator based in Southern California. She is passionate about advocating for and exploring the relationship between social justice and environmentalism. Thomas’s services include helping businesses integrate intersectional environmentalism and social justice into their brand mission statements, strategies, and special projects. Her writing can be found on her blog at and on The Good Trade, a sustainable fashion, wellness, and lifestyle platform. Thomas was on the communications team at Patagonia and recently authored the article, “Why every environmentalist should be anti-racist” for Vogue. She is a 2017 graduate of Chapman University with a Bachelor of Science in environmental science and policy.

Yalemzewod Enqubahry
Aspen Challenge: Chicago

Yalemzewod (Yalem) Enqubahry is a 20-year-old native of Chicago, Illinois. She is an upcoming senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral/Cognitive Neuroscience with a minor in Global and International Studies at Loyola University Chicago. Yalem aspires to attend medical school with the hopes of becoming a neurologist or neurosurgeon. She is a member of Loyola’s Doctors Without Borders student chapter, and a tutor at Loyola’s Writing Center. Yalem is also the co-founder and co-president of Femme International Loyola Student Ambassadors, which aims to eliminate the stigma surrounding menstruation through education and by fundraising to provide young girls in East Africa access to menstrual management kits. She was team captain of Starry Chicago, one of the winning teams of the 2016 Aspen Challenge: Chicago.

AbdulBasit Ajeigbe
Aspen Young Leaders Fellowship: Newark

AbdulBasit (Abdul) Ajeigbe is a 20-year-old Newark, New Jersey native. He is currently a rising junior at Pomona College, majoring in both computer science and media studies. He hopes to use technology to produce creative and imaginative experiences that transcend imagination. At school, Abdul serves as a peer mentor, strategic planning committee member, and manager of the club basketball team. Outside of school, Abdul is a fellow at Management Leadership for Tomorrow and an ambassador at Leadership Brainery. In addition, he has been working with the Chad School Foundation to co-found the peer-based mentorship program, Newark’s Promise. Abdul attributes his accomplishments thus far to community support, which is why he believes it is imperative to continue to support the youth in his own community. When he’s not working, he’s playing basketball or binge-watching anime. Abdul is a member of the second cohort of the Aspen Young Leaders Fellowship (AYLF) Newark.