Waste-focused environmentalist will attempt to be youngest woman elected to Congress
by Arlene Karidis
24-year-old Erin Schrode, environmentalist and founder of national nonprofit organization Turning Green, plans to run for Congress—and if she is elected, she will be the youngest congresswoman in US history.
Schrode was recently featured in Waste Dive for her efforts to lead the millennial generation into environmentally-conscious industries such as waste management and recycling. Her election platform will include a push for clean water management, sustainability, and responsible consumption, among other efforts such as better mental health care and minorities’ rights.
As she prepares to try and unseat Democratic Rep. Jared Huffman, she said her desire is to see "a breadth of backgrounds in Congress. Right now we just don't [have that]," as reported in Mic.
Waste Dive recently described Schrode as a "pied piper," leading the millennial generation into the world of waste management and other environmentally-focused fields. She's pulled youth into campus initiatives like single-use bag bans and bans on plastic water bottles, and she's also spent time bringing environmental issues to the forefront for policy leaders. Now, she wants to take policy into her own hands.
Schrode's organization Turning Green, which launched in 2005, was the start of her quest for cleaner, greener, more sustainable communities. At that time, she was especially worried about reports of cancer in her home county.
"Marin [in California] had the highest breast, prostate, and melanoma cancer rates in the world and no one knew why. This was actually my mother’s starting point in activism—to find out why. And it was my entrée into the world of nonprofits and campaigning," Schrode told Waste Dive.
"After 11 subsequent years in the environmental and education space; going to Haiti and becoming involved in sustainable development; working on environmental initiatives in Ghana and Middle East … working in waste management and natural resource conservation, among civil rights and social justices issues, I’ve seen a lot of broken policy, and a government I do not believe is representative of the people."
However, Schrode does believe in a younger generation and the potential for government to help shape society.
"Most people in my generation don’t want to go anywhere near [government leadership] because the system seems broken. So I am throwing my hat into the ring," she told Waste Dive.
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