Meet Melissa Brice, Founder of Chicago 350

Melissa Brice is the founder of the 350 Chicago chapter. In her words, “350.org is a grassroots global movement to solve the climate crisis, operating in 188 countries to stop new fossil fuel infrastructure projects, divest from fossil fuels, and transition to 100% renewable energy.” Brice first became familiar with 350 in November of 2012 through an article in Yes! Magazine. She then went on to have her first activism experience in February 2013, when she attended the largest climate activism event (at the time) in the US - a rally led by 350.org calling on the president to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline. There were 40,000 people gathered on the National Mall, and Melissa Brice was one of them. Inspired by the event, she went home and launched the Chicago chapter of 350 in May 2013.

Who are you?

I am the founder and a volunteer of Chicago 350. I am a Chicago native. I hold a BS in chemistry and a MS in environmental science.

Who inspires you?

Bill McKibben, Bryan Stevenson, my family, my Chicago 350 teammates, and anyone fighting injustice and oppression.

What are you scared of?

Inaction on climate change. Greed. A lack of compassion and understanding influencing our decision-makers.

Where have you been?

To Washington D.C. to protest the Keystone Pipeline twice and to city hall to call for fossil fuel divestment. It all started with myself and a friend learning how to start a movement in Chicago, researching, connecting with other 350 groups, and navigating city politics.

Where are you now?

Right now I am an integral member of the Chicago environmental community. I am building relationships, challenging our elected officials to take climate action, and educating fellow citizens. For the last four years, the Chicago 350 chapter has been focused on fossil fuel divestment. We will continue to work on getting the city of Chicago's operational budget and pension funds to divest from fossil fuels, but this year we have also added a campaign to transition the city to 100% renewable energy.

Where are you going?

I am always working to be an engaged, supportive, and inclusive neighbor in a city that has not only transitioned to a clean energy economy, but that also incorporates all people, ends injustice (whether it be racial, social, or environmental), and creates climate resilient, well-paid, diverse, supported communities.

If you are interested in learning more or would like to join Chicago 350, click here.

All images are courtesy of Chicago 350