By Bekah Ashley
Muskan Walia is a second-year student at the University of Utah Honors College, studying math and philosophy. In June of 2020, Muskan launched a grassroots clean energy campaign — from the ground up — in collaboration with Sierra Club Utah Chapter and Utah Youth Environmental Solutions to commit Davis School District, her local district, to 100% clean energy by 2030.
Members of the Student Coalition for 100% Clean Energy in Davis School District: Elise VanDenBerghe, Blake Eliason, Kate Forth, Muskan Walia, and Shelby Strickler, tabling at the Utah State Capitol, summer 2021
Davis County experiences some of the worst air pollution in Utah, with low-income youth and communities of color disproportionately impacted. Indoor air has two to five times more pollutants than outdoor air, as viruses enter, settle in, and travel through school ventilation systems. Muskan’s efforts focus on reducing environmental impacts in Davis and improving indoor air quality to protect the health of students and teachers. Her organizing is a testament to her compassion, care for her community, and drive to make the environment a healthier, more livable place for people most impacted.
In addition to launching Davis School District’s first Clean Energy Campaign, Muskan helps lead the Utah Youth Environmental Solutions Network (UYES) — a network of organizers and activists that are working to activate Utah youth for climate justice. As an organizer at UYES, Muskan is supporting the development of a place-based and values-oriented leadership program that aims to equip young people in the struggle for climate justice.
Utah is fraught with obstacles for environmental and social justice, and Muskan is offering an outlet for youth to address and solve those challenges. She has strong values and principles, stands up for what she believes in, and has a gift for connecting with people across age and backgrounds in her work — from middle school students to college sophomores, parents, teachers, and community members. She is helping lead the charge for environmental activism in Utah, and we are grateful for her here at the Sierra Club Utah everyday.
"Sierra Club Utah and UYES is a home to organizers that are dreamers, movers, shakers, and trailblazers. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with such an optimistic, intelligent, and uplifting group of people. This community symbolizes the value of acknowledging your role and relationship to the system and speaking up for the wellbeing of your neighbors. This community bears the type of power that no one can silence or dismantle, power passed through stories and acts of resistance. This community has kept me on track and connected me to my deepest love of the practice of advocacy, providing stamina and inspiration for this practice."
- Muskan Walia, Sierra Club Utah and Utah Youth Environmental Solutions