Video: Student Leader Talks Conservation & Generation Y

Deji Akinpelu leads his peers in the conservation movement, and shares his view on the most critical work for his generation.

The first time Deji Akinpelu heard about "environmental justice"--the inequitable distributions of environmental burdens on low-income and minority communities--the term gave him the shivers.

At the time, he was a student in the National Wildlife Federation's the Earth Tomorrow environmental leadership program in Detroit. Environmental justice just clicked with him and it is "still one of my main passions and what drives me" as he pursues a degree in environmental science and leads other students in environmental advocacy at Wayne State in Detroit.

Deji is one of the founding members of NWF's Young Leaders Assembly that brought together emerging leaders in conservation and environmental advocacy to discuss ways to inspire and invigorate the environmental movement in the years ahead.

When asked what the most critical thing that his generation should be working, Deji's analysis is good advice for all generations:

In the interview clip, Deji tells us:

Honestly I believe the critical thing that we should be working on is policy. Policy usually gets swept under the rug or not talked about as much, but the fact of the matter is the policy is involved with anything with the environment, because you need to have people who are accountable to actually make the changes, to actually see that the changes are being made. It's the thing that most students tend to shy away from, but it’s something we need to start being more rigorous about.

Do you agree with Deji? Advocate for policies that protect the clean air and water on which both people and wildlife depend.