Varshini Prakash: Sunrise Movement Sees The Green New Deal on the Horizon [Ep. 148]

If you only have two minutes, click here for a highlight from the interview.

Varshini was born and raised outside Boston, MA. She got involved in the climate movement as an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She joined the UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment campaign early in her time at UMass and led the campaign for two years. In Spring 2016, the campaign won after a 2-week long mass escalation in which over 700 students, faculty, and alumni participated. 32 were arrested after peacefully refusing to leave the Whitmore Administration Building until UMass agreed to climate action. For the last three years, she has coordinated fossil fuel divestment campaigns with the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network at a regional and national level. She supported campaigns across the country through training, mentorship, and strategic guidance. Varshini supported the launch of Sunrise, a movement building an army of young people to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process. 


Some highlights from Erin Axelrod’s conversation with Varshini Prakash include:

  • The Sunrise Movement is mobilizing tens of thousands to stop business as usual with The Green New Deal

  • The Green New Deal aims to address our climate crisis as well as wealth- and racial inequity

  • Today’s youth leadership are particularly positioned to be vanguards for social change

  • Envisioning a world where all of our basic needs as humans are met while providing a benefit to each other and our environment and contrasting this vision with our current world which is more of a lose-lose, zero-sum game.

  • How the Green New Deal harkens back to The New Deal and how the Green New Deal will similarly take many pieces of legislation over a period of decades.

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LIFT Economy is an impact consulting firm whose mission is to create, model, and share a locally self-reliant economy that works for the benefit of all life.


Andrew Baskin, Partner & Executive Producer at LIFT Economy, specializes in regenerative ag-related enterprise and impact investing that advances the health of our soil, food-system, and climate.  You can email Andrew at


Erin Axelrod is a Partner at LIFT Economy, helping to accelerate the spread of climate-beneficial businesses, specializing in businesses that address critical soil and water regeneration. She is an avid ecologist, grassroots organizer and regularly forages for wild food in her home in rural Sonoma County. You can follow Erin on Twitter @erinaxelrod or email her