COP26: 6 Young Climate Activists On A Mission To Change The World

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Young climate activists from around the world are fighting for a better planet. (Photo: various)
Young climate activists from around the world are fighting for a better planet. (Photo: various)

It’s no secret that climate change is a top priority when it comes to younger generations with the likes of Greta Thunberg now a household name.

But she’s not the only one taking matters into her own hands.

HuffPost UK spoke to six young climate activists from the UK and beyond who will be making their voices heard at COP26 in Glasgow.

Dominique is a student and climate activist. (Photo: Dominique Palmer/Jessica Kleczka)
Dominique is a student and climate activist. (Photo: Dominique Palmer/Jessica Kleczka)

Dominique Palmer: “Marginalised and vulnerable communities can’t be left behind”

Age: 21

Where: student at the University of Birmingham

Proudest moment: “When other people have told me that I inspired them to join the movement. The fact that I have been able to inspire anyone to take action means a lot to me because it shows how much power we all hold to create ripples of change.”

Governments should… “end the endless exploitation of natural resources for profit”.

Dominique’s activism focuses on marginalised communities and those disproportionately impacted by climate change.

She has organised climate protests and was involved in the 2019 climate strike that saw over 300,000 people take part across the UK.

Dominique’s next project is called Climate Live, a series of global concerts that will take place in October to educate and empower a new audience on climate change.

Her advice to get involved: “Join your local climate group or environmental organisation, this is where most of the action happens.”

Leah is an activist raising awareness about climate change in her home country Uganda. (Photo: Leah Namugerwa)
Leah is an activist raising awareness about climate change in her home country Uganda. (Photo: Leah Namugerwa)

Leah Namugerwa: “I miss school every Friday striking for the climate.”

Age: 17

From: Kampala, Uganda

My goal is to… “plant a billion trees”

“When I was turning 15, I chose not to cut a cake but to give back to the dying planet by planting 200 trees. My goal is to plant a billion trees and so far I have planted more than 7,000.”

Leah also campaigns for better reinforcement of the single use plastic ban in Uganda. She says even though the law exists, she is fighting “tooth and neck” to make sure plastics don’t destroy the environment.

I want my government to… “stop cutting down forests for sugar cane plantations. Bugoma forest is on the verge of extinction. I’m scared if this deforestation goes on, my nation will lose a lot.

“Floods are hitting us hard and land slides are killing and displacing so many people. I’m trying my best to restore what is lost but the government needs to stop deforestation.”

Mikaela is a medical student and a global environmental activist. (Photo: Mikaela Loach)
Mikaela is a medical student and a global environmental activist. (Photo: Mikaela Loach)

Mikaela Loach: “We must tackle white supremacy and capitalism.”

Age: 23

Where: Edinburgh, Scotland

Climate change is also about… “racial injustice”

“The creation of the current crisis was built upon the blueprint that was left by colonialism. If we want to create solutions, we have to tackle the root cause, we have to tackle white supremacy, we have to tackle capitalism, we have to tackle all systems of oppression.”

Mikaela says countries like Jamaica, where she was born, are living with the effects of the climate crisis and the actions of countries like the UK.

“The UK owes countries like Jamaica and other countries all over the world a huge debt because of the emissions that the UK has contributed to creating this crisis that is harming these countries.

“The UK has created the conditions for these countries to be deliberately underdeveloped through colonialism and that legacy.”

I want to see a world without… “fossil fuels”

Mikaela is currently involved in a court case with the UK government over the amount of public money given to North Sea oil and gas sea companies in a campaign known as Paid To Pollute.

People should do some research on: The Stop Cambo campaign.

#StopCambo is a campaign to prevent the approval of a field site in the North Atlantic sea that will be used to dig for hundreds of millions of barrels of heavy crude oil - an oil that is unrelated to the shortage of diesel and petrol the UK has faced recently. Most of the oil will be sold to other countries.

It makes me happy doing my activism when… “Black women say they got involved in climate activism because they saw themselves represented through my work.”

If we are to be successful in our fight to stop climate change, we need everyone caring and fighting for the planet.Mya-Rose Craig

Elizabeth is a climate activist from Kenya. (Photo: Elizabeth Wathuti)
Elizabeth is a climate activist from Kenya. (Photo: Elizabeth Wathuti)

Elizabeth Wathuti: “Political attention to the climate is still insufficient.”

Age: 26

Where: Nairobi, Kenya

I want world leaders to know… people in countries like mine are already being greatly impacted by the impacts of the climate crisis despite having least contributed.”

Elizabeth says she’s on a mission to fight for the planet’s regeneration. Her work focuses on making sure the next generation fall in love with nature and protecting urban green spaces.

Politicians should be talking about… “preserving our natural ecosystems”

“Political attention is still insufficient when it comes to nature. Discussions about tackling the climate crisis have centred around reducing carbon emissions but we also need to preserve every remaining natural ecosystem on the planet, create green, clean and resilient cities, and massively increase investments and efforts in regenerating nature in addition to stopping investments in fossil fuels.”

Proudest moment: “Saving a 100 year-old iconic fig tree that was to be chopped down to pave way for the Nairobi expressway in Kenya.”

How can others help? “Amplify the work of activists on social media, partner or collaborate with us in running similar projects in your region, or directly support us with resources to scale up and maximise on our impact.”

Mya-Rose in the arctic (left) and her new book We Have A Dream (right). (Photo: Greenpeace/Mya-Rose)
Mya-Rose in the arctic (left) and her new book We Have A Dream (right). (Photo: Greenpeace/Mya-Rose)

Mya-Rose Craig: “We can’t tackle climate change unless all communities and ethnicities connect to nature.”

Age: 19

AKA: Birdgirl because of her well-known blog about, well, birds

Where: Bristol, England

To stop climate change we need to… “see pupils in primary and secondary schools learning about climate change in the context of countries in the global south, and encouraging ethnic minority communities in the UK to start fighting for those in their countries of ethnicity and elsewhere in the global south.”

Mya-Rose, who is British Bangladeshi, wants to see diverse voices heard when it comes to the fight against climate change.

She’s written a book called We Have A Dream to amplify the voices of indigenous activists and environmentalists of colour. She also runs Black2Nature, an organisation that runs nature camps and campaigns for the environmental industry to be more ethnically diverse.

She wants to see bigger changes happening in the global north to minimise the effects of climate change which are being felt in the global south.

What can people do to help: “The main thing that people can do is to lobby their MPs and keep writing to them about climate change and why they should take action now.”

Eyal believes education about climate is really important to tackle the issue. (Photo: Argentinian National Congress/Eyal Weintraub)
Eyal believes education about climate is really important to tackle the issue. (Photo: Argentinian National Congress/Eyal Weintraub)

Eyal Weintraub: “Environmental education should be a priority in school.”

Age: 21

Where: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Eyal is a co-author of a book called La Generación Despierta, he co-hosts a podcast about the climate crisis, and works across environmental education across Latin America.

“I would like for environmental education to be a priority at school and be incorporated into the curriculum in a holistic way. How it is taught should be a co-creation led by students, teachers, specialists, indigenous people and the voices of those on the front line of environmental violence.”

Proudest moment: “March 15th, 2019”

“That day was the first international youth climate strike led by Fridays For Future and I had the honour of being one of the organisers here in Argentina. Without experience, resources or know-how we managed to mobilise 5,000 people in the City of Buenos Aires and thousands more all over the country. At the time, that was the biggest climate strike ever organised in Argentina.”

Eyal believes that education about the climate crisis is crucial to be able to “mitigate this catastrophe”.

What you can do to help is… “get informed and help your friends and family get informed by speaking to them about these issues and what each and every one of us can do to help.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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