The Voice of NJ Food and Water Watch
Matt Smith, NJ state director for Food and Water Action, shares his journey as an activist and his thoughts on Generation Green.
As we hear the voices of high school students and their thoughts on environmental issues, I wanted to expand the scope of our Generation Green magazine and add the perspectives of local activists and experts. I reached out to Matt Smith, NJ state director for Food and Water Action, and he kindly answered a few questions. Below his responses are his biography and email address.
1. How did you first get involved in environmental and climate activism?
I first started getting active when a fossil fuel company proposed a major new pipeline to transport gas from fracking in PA through NJ and eventually overseas for export. The pipeline was proposed to cut through my favorite place to be with nature, the Ramapo Reservation in Mahwah. While we lost that battle, the lessons learned and relationships forged, including with the Ramapough Lenape Nation, continue to inform and empower my organizing work today. And since that time we've stopped two other pipelines, the Pilgrim Pipelines (also proposed through the Ramapo Reseveration) and the Williams Pipeline proposed through Central NJ and the Raritan Bay!
2. What is one of the main projects you are currently working on?
I'm currently working on a campaign to stop all new fossil fuel projects in NJ, and win a rapid and fair transition to 100% clean energy by 2035 or sooner. This includes fighting several new pipelines and power plants, including a new power plant in the Kearny Meadowlands proposed by NJ TRANSIT.
3. Do you have a call-to-action to people? What is something we can all do to make a positive impact?
Sign our petition to stop the NJ TRANSIT power plant! Text "TRANSIT" to 69866 to sign the petition from your phone.
4. Do you have a quote or saying that you live by and would like to share?
If the world was set to end tomorrow, I'd still plant a tree today.
5. When you hear the term "generation green," what comes to your mind?
A new generation of socially, politically and ecologically conscious youth who reject the culture of mindless consumption, racism, sexism, and inequality, and dare to begin the work of building the future we all need to survive and thrive on our shared home, planet Earth.
Matt Smith is the NJ State Director for Food & Water Action. Matt is an experienced organizing manager responsible for developing and executing strategic grassroots campaigns in support of Food & Water Action policy goals in New Jersey. His work focuses on protecting clean and affordable public water, stopping the expansion of polluting fossil fuel infrastructure, and facilitating a rapid and fair transition to a 100% renewable energy economy. Matt also sits on the steering committee of the New Jersey Poor People’s Campaign, and is a member of the FANG collective, where his work links popular movements for environmental, economic and social justice. Matt has a Bachelors of Finance degree from Philadelphia University. Born and raised in Bergen County, Matt can be found on his days off enjoying New Jersey’s parks and wilderness that so many have fought to preserve and protect. Matt can be reached email@example.com.