Jayden Foytlin

Age: 14, Hometown: Rayne, Louisiana

"Our government seems to care more about money for the fossil fuel industry than for our futures. But money isn't going to matter if we can't fix our planet."

Early one morning in August 2016, as torrential rains pounded Louisiana, Jayden woke up, stepped onto her bedroom floor, and found herself ankle-deep in water. "They called it a thousand-year flood, meaning it should only happen every thousand years or so," she says. "But in my state—Louisiana—we have had that 1,000-year flood and eight 500-year floods in less than two years. A few weeks ago I literally stepped out of bed and was up to my ankles in climate change." Most of Jayden's family home was destroyed in that flood, which was followed by another in Spring 2017. The air and water pollution from the development of fossil fuels in southern Louisiana also threaten the health of Jayden and her family. They used to enjoy visiting the beach frequently, swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, crabbing, and eating seafood, but have avoided these activities since the BP oil spill. She is now working with her mother, Cherri, to resist the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, which would carry oil transported via the Dakota Access pipeline from Nederland, Texas, across the state of Louisiana to refineries and international export terminals.

Jayden marching at the People's Climate March in Washington D.C., April 29, 2017. Photo: Robin Loznak

Jayden marching at the People's Climate March in Washington D.C., April 29, 2017. Photo: Robin Loznak