February is a neat month. Holidays, observances, and we get an extra day this time! And we are spending every one of them being grateful for and celebrating our Climate Hero of the Month, Braeden Miguel!

Truly. Where to even begin for an incredible human being and activist like Braeden? Well for starters, they’ve always had a strong foundation for the planet and the people. “Learning about environmental studies at CU Boulder and the state of our planet led me to desire growth and perspective as a way to come up and figure out my unique spot in all of this,” said Braeden. “I had a background being able to see many places growing up and in high school had a passion for wanting to preserve this world for future generations and kids kids I wanted to have!”

“That growth and passion led to learning about many things from education frameworks, storytelling, activism, entrepreneurship, and so much more. Eventually politics rose up to me as one the biggest levers for change, and thus positive change, that exists and in 2016 began to slowly but surely get more involved.”

Braeden then got further involved with climate issues with the Sunrise movement first. Over time they began to meet other climate organizations and was attracted to the positive energy and community that 350CO was creating. It was exactly three years ago this month in 2021 that they got started with us by signing a petition! And since then, nearly every single staff member has had the pleasure of organizing with Braeden.

In no particular order, Braeden has been a part of the following activities: The ‘For Our Future’ Youth Conference, the ‘Youth v Gov’ campaign, the Chase Bank Action in 2022, the Activist Banquet, the Stop the Dirty Banks Action, local team art builds & team picnics, strategic planning, Action Jackson in Wyoming in 2022, and Climate Lobby Day. Whether that was being in the planning meetings leading up to, helping set-up and breakdown, or speaking at the events, Braeden can literally do it all.

And truly, that’s just scratching the surface, that’s not everything they’ve done! We could write 10 separate blog posts outlining all the work that went into these things, and we will certainly touch on a few of them here. But rather I’d like to focus this post on the qualities that came out and tie all of these moments in the climate justice movement together; the commitment, authenticity, and heart that Braeden demonstrates every step of the way.

When people feel a personal connection to activists and the cause, they are more likely to come together to address the issue collectively. Collaboration amplifies the impact of individual efforts. The Activist Banquet in April 2023 was a great example of that.

“One of my favorite memories with Braeden was working together to put on the Activist Banquet,” said Chelsea Alexander, 350 Movement Building & Volunteer Director. “Although there were a number of details that needed to be pulled together, Braeden was a fantastic teammate every step of the way. Calm, collected, and bent towards fun and connection.”

And it was a great success! Food, drinks, live music, childcare available, and a comfortable space (thank you Comun!), many of these details thanks to Braeden’s organizing and dedication.

“Braeden is a very special piece of the climate justice movement in the Denver metro area!” said Bobbie Mooney, 350 Beyond Oil & Gas Campaign Coordinator. “They can always be counted on to show up at rallies, actions, meetings, and celebrations of all sorts lead by 350 Colorado and all our amazing allied organizations and communities working towards meaningful action for climate justice.”

Braeden’s skills in communication and video production have been critical in getting the word out and educating the community on important issues and events. “As part of the “End the Era of Fossil Fuels” global day of action last June, Braeden hosted our virtual event that highlighted and recapped the 11 in-person events 350 Colorado and allies held around the State,” said Bobbie. 

“Collaborating on and participating at events, actions, and learning alongside the 350 Colorado team has been one of the biggest highlights of the last few years!” – Braeden

One of Braeden’s super strengths, among others, is recognizing and addressing the intersectionality of social and environmental issues. Inclusivity and a commitment to diversity ensure that the work we do benefits and represents a broad range of communities. Braeden is always thinking of others, prioritizing solutions that allow everyone to thrive.

“Braeden is actually everywhere in the Colorado climate community! I mean, talk about showing up for the planet.” said Ciara Guerrero, 350 Communications Coordinator. “Their commitment to this work is impossible to miss. I see Braeden supporting so many local events and they’re also doing impactful and important climate advocacy work on social media through their own channels.”

A committed activist who consistently demonstrates a genuine passion for the cause gains trust from the community. This trust is crucial for mobilizing support and effecting change, and that’s exactly what Braeden has done in their organizing over the years.

“I had the privilege of meeting Braeden in my FIRST WEEK in Colorado, and have truly seen them everywhere in the climate movement since then!!” said Melissa Burrell, 350 Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs Teams Coordinator. “From an NVDA training, to the Climate Activist Banquet, to actions at the Capitol, to co-working days at Shared Ground, Braeden never fails to show up and stand out. I always know Braeden is someone I can connect with and have a friendly face in potentially stressful situations.” Braeden is truly talented at fostering a real sense of community and making everyone around them feel comfortable and free to be themselves. Their public speaking skills reflect their warmth and care for everyone around them. 

An incredible powerhouse, activist, and friend, we need more Braeden’s in the world!” – Ciara

Braeden ran for state senate in 2022 in Douglas County, and they broke records as a Democrat to get over 40,000 votes, a 7% loss in a typically 12+ point difference district. They ran on a platform that centered on climate change, water, and healthcare access, which helps show that so many Coloradans care about and value the same things. It is clear that they prioritize the well-being of the cause and the communities they serve! Braeden really understands the meaning of public servant and taking care of one another.

And also taking care of oneself! “Recently I have been continuing the push for positive change by working to break down barriers in accessibility and education for the everyday person to get more involved with my Startup, Community Driven. Creating media and online content like the ‘Our Colorado Policy Angles’ live show that happens on Fridays, to speaking out on ending the era of fossil fuels, and working towards the development of new educational products (like an exciting card game coming later this year)! These are all things I am moving forward while continuing to build strong connections and working to support leaders across the environmental movement!” said Braeden.

Through the years Braeden’s commitment, authenticity, and heart has undoubtedly served as a major source of inspiration for others. A genuine approach that can break down barriers and build bridges, and I’m taking notes for my own organizing. An exceptional organizer through and through, we’re so grateful you’re a part of this community, Braeden! Thank you SO MUCH for all that you do! Keep going, you’re making a difference!

You can find, follow, support, and share Braeden’s content online at www.communitydrivengroup.com.

Want to be our next Climate Hero of the month? Join the climate movement and shine with your unique skills! Email volunteer@350colorado.org.