To his friends and peers, Torrey Pines High School senior Rami Kabakibi is a stoic of sorts. A deep thinker, calm without fail, and often quiet. But there is one topic that sends Kabakibi into a frenzy of passionate loquaciousness. A topic which transforms him into a fierce changemaker and activist.
Perhaps by fate, Kabakibi says his household began receiving the Time Magazine – a publication known for its consistent coverage of climate change – monthly amidst the Covid-19 lockdown. While most teens spent their time during the pandemic scrolling through TikTok, Kabakibi allocated all of his time to poring over every article and research paper he could find about the global climate crisis. The more he uncovered the scientific root of the issue, the greater his alarm and compulsion for action grew.
“Some people ask, why do you do this,” he said. “And for me it’s more like how could I not? How can you not take action after realizing how severe of an issue this is?”
Kabakibi began his journey as a member of the Citizen Climate Lobby local San Diego North Chapter, through which he met with government officials, such as Mike Levin, to encourage them to implement climate change legislation through lobbying. Though his work with the organization was immensely valuable, Kabakibi felt that it was just the tip of the iceberg.
He expanded his energy to San Diego 350, the largest climate organization in San Diego, specifically to their youth-based outlet called Youth4Climate. The organization has an endless variety of missions such as fighting to ban oil drilling in California and planning strikes to educate others.
“It was exactly what I was looking for,” he said. “Just the incredible feeling of being surrounded by like-minded passionate youth who actually care about our planet.”
Most recently, Kabakibi’s last eight months of work for Youth4Climate has culminated in a summit for youth interested in the environment hosted at the World Beat Center on August 19. The summit is completely student driven, and features prolific climate speakers from Scripps Institute for Oceanography, the Barona Band of Kumeyaay Indians, and more.
Kabakibi is the kind of conscious member of the planet that all should aspire to be like.
“No matter if you are younger or in your nineties, this is an issue you must get involved in. If you are younger, it is your future. It determines whether you can start a family 30 years from now.”