Air pollution causes 6.7 million deaths a year, according to WHO.
“Our environment is really being affected by humans, but we have the ability to change the trajectory of our future. In order to do that we need to take action now collectively, we don’t have time to waste and I think education is the first step to action,” Jaidacyn Madrigal, Founder of Fright for Future.
Education is an act of love. It is a way of sharing our knowledge with others so they can walk along us through the same path and see life and the world through new eyes, with a renewed and stronger spirit. Just like the Irish Nobel Prize laureate, Poet, and Dramatist, W. B. Yeats once said: “Education is not the filling of a pot but the lighting of a fire.” For Jaidacyn Madrigal education changed her life forever, showing her a deeper perspective on our environment and its creatures, and giving her a purpose: to motivate others to take care of our planet.
Jaidacyn Mikal Madrigal is a writer, and environmental and animal rights advocate, who is currently working as a Marketing and Fundraising Coordinator for SanDiego350, a climate action nonprofit in San Diego, California; she is also the founder of the innovative project “Fright for Future.”
The youngest of two sisters, she was born in Washington State and got her bachelor’s degree in Tourism at Sacramento State University. However, it was a class she took in high school that opened her eyes to the imperative need to take action to prevent the environmental crisis we are living in right now.
“I learned about climate change during my senior year of high school,” recalls Jaidacyn. “I took an environmental class and I remember I had an awesome teacher, Mr. Cherniak. This was the best class I have ever taken in all my high school years. I learned so much about real life and the future. That had a big impact on me because I had no idea that this crisis was happening.”
Change Yourself to Change the World
When Jaidacyn learned about the environmental crisis, she thought that all of that information should have been available for her and everyone else at an earlier educational level so people could be more aware of the situation and help our planet. Jaidacyn was 17 years old when she watched the video, “The Hidden Costs of Hamburgers” and decided to become a pescatarian; two years later she became a vegetarian, and then a year later, she decided to become vegan.
“In college, I took an environmental class where they showed the documentary, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ by Al Gore. I felt very sad and started asking myself if there was anything I could do to help the environment and take action instead of just feeling helpless,” the environmental activist remembers.
Shortly after, Jaidacyn joined an environmental club at her college and started a YouTube channel where she made videos to help educate people on environmental issues. But she didn’t stop there.
“After I went to a “Climate Reality Project” conference on climate change led by Al Gore, I got certified to give presentations in my community about this phenomenon and what people can do about it. I gave 23 talks about climate change to high school classes because a lot of high schools still don’t have an environmental class or program to learn about that,” says Jaidacyn.
New Initiatives to Save the Planet
Since Jaidacyn finished college, she has worked in two, nonprofit environmental organizations and wrote a children’s book to inspire awareness for the younger generations.
“Learning about all of that through education is what has inspired me to educate others. I made a children’s book about climate change and different environmental issues. It’s called “Why is Earth Sick?” about ways in which kids can make a difference because I think we should start as soon as we can in life to know about these issues,” says the young writer.
After that, Jaidacyn had an innovative idea to unite the Halloween tradition with the possibility of teaching about the importance of taking care of our planet and animals. So she created the project, “Fright for Future.”
“Fright for Future is a haunted maze of true terrors bringing scary issues like climate change, pollution, and animal rights to light during Halloween, using the holiday to educate people at a fun event,” explains Jaidacyn.
The Biggest Environmental Problems of Our Time
World Health Organization, the combination of ambient air pollution and household air pollution is associated with the death of 6.7 million people a year; and in 2019, 99% of the world’s population lived in places that didn’t meet the quality guidelines of air according to the organization.
But air pollution is just one of many issues with tragic consequences that we are facing on our planet nowadays. In fact, the site earth.org created a list of the 15 Biggest Environmental Problems of 2023 which include global warming from fossil fuels, biodiversity loss, plastic pollution, deforestation, ocean acidification, food and water insecurity, and more.
Yet, according to the United Nations, we can still change the dark future that we seem to be headed toward but this will require a change in the way we use the land, grow our food, transport goods, and more. In this race against time, technology can be an ally as well as renewable energy but we all must participate in the collective effort.
A Maze of Solutions
Jaidacyn started the project Fright for Future in 2021, in an outdoor park in Washington state, all by herself, with the hope that people would be aware of the environmental crisis we are facing and also find solutions they could implement in their everyday lives, as well as organizations they could join to help our planet.
“Last year I put Fright for Future on at El Centro Cultural de la Raza community center in San Diego, California, it was an indoor maze. I worked with 7 other local non-profits and we had 12 different exhibits, each one with a different topic. This year I had 9 organizations that I partnered with. It was a two-day event. We had animatronics and I made brochures with information for the people to read,” says Jaidacyn.
In order to make Fright for Future in 2023, Jaidacyn looked for both grants and support from the organizations involved in the project. When she found The Pollination Project, she decided to apply.
“I was so excited when I found out I was awarded this grant! I had spent a lot of my own money to put on Fright for Future last year, so I was so thankful and thrilled to have received this funding to make the event bigger and better this year! I used the funding for props and animatronics for the different exhibits to make them even more impactful. The walk-through was a lot more of an immersive experience thanks to the props I was able to get using the funding. People spent a lot more time inside the maze than last year, just looking at all the details and reading the information,” says Jaidacyn.
Fright for Future had more than 200 visitors this year and they were rated as #1 Scariest attraction in San Diego in 2023.
“With this project, I want to educate the community about issues involving animals and climate change because our environment is really being affected by humans and we have the ability to change the trajectory of our future and in order to do that we all need to collectively take action and not action in 10 years, we don’t have time to wait, we need to take action now. That is why I have worked so hard to have in this maze not only the problems but also the things people can do or the organizations they can join to be a part of the solution. What gives me hope is knowing there are also amazing people and organizations in this world that are doing incredible work to help people, animals, and the environment. There needs to be more of this work in the world and this work needs to be prioritized and funded! I am hopeful that this amazing new generation of young people will take the lead on climate action! They are already leading the charge! I feel so encouraged hearing about new innovative ideas of addressing these issues – it shows that people care and are working toward a better future. I definitely find comfort knowing we are in this together!” says Jaidacyn.
If you are inspired by this work and have an idea for a project that addresses an issue that you are passionate about, we’d like to invite you to submit an application and together we will build a better, more compassionate future!
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