Who said you have to be in Colorado to fight for climate solutions here? For the month of July we are honoring James Walker as our Climate Hero of the Month! 

A little background on our climate hero: James earned a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from California State University, Northridge. In 2019 he decided to change career paths and start to learn how to develop websites. He also decided to change his surroundings, and a few years ago he made a big move to live in Vietnam! Living there he connected with the culture and the people, and he continued to see how the climate crisis has a disproportionate impact on people that aren’t the primary contributors to climate change. Little by little James was moving towards becoming an active environmentalist.

While in Vietnam James got into cycling. He also did a two week trial of eating just plant-based to see how it could have a positive impact on performance and recovery. The results were profound, and he is now celebrating nearly five years of being vegan! Bringing those two passions together, James found a group of like-minded people and eventually helped form an all-vegan cycling team in Vietnam that traveled the country promoting the message and love behind veganism.

“So — being a hippie-vegan-cyclist, I just sort of found myself involved with people and organizations that were committed to environmental and social justice. This would eventually lead to me joining a few of these committed folks in founding a bike racing squad. Our stated mission was to “affect change through compassion” (like I said, hippies), but despite the treacly language, we were well researched. In all our eagerness to effectively communicate to people why they should care about veganism and environmental justice in general, we all learned as much as we could about the various talking points and conversations happening around veganism,” says James reflecting on his climate journey. “But as a result of all this, we became unavoidably politicized…”

That politicization of his personal choices eventually got James involved with 350 Colorado in November of 2021. A friend of his in Pueblo that had been taking climate action with 350CO as well had made the connection/introduction. “I remember being struck by his thoughtfulness and how easy it was to talk to him,” says Movement Building & Volunteer Director Chelsea. “It was like I had already met him!” After chatting together for an hour, it became clear that given his skills as a web developer (and being 13 hours ahead of the U.S. in Vietnam), that working on our website was the perfect opportunity for him to lend his expertise! 

It’s important to understand that our website had been a huge project that was years in the making. Truly. A variety of unique issues and circumstances kept pushing our timelines back. But carefully and consistently, our staff and volunteers worked together to review past user performance data, gather feedback, and implement best practices as we rebuilt it. The working group came together on Zoom each month (oftentimes more than once!) to move the work forward, and James made it to those meetings despite the fact it might be 1:00 in the morning for him! If he didn’t make it, he was quick to respond to emails and implement updates. It was through the help of dedicated and patient volunteers like James that helped bring this project over the finish line in early May! 

A big shout-out of gratitude as well to volunteers Sam K, Nicole C, Justin C, and everyone else that contributed to this project! 

“I’m so happy I got the opportunity to get involved with an organization as potent as 350, and I’m looking forward to doing as much of this kind of work as I can” says James. 

We are in admiration for all that you’ve done and do James, thank you so much! The climate movement is stronger with you in it. 

Want to be our next Climate Hero of the month? Join us as a volunteer by emailing volunteer@350colorado.org.