Written by Chase Weiland
Many of you have probably seen much about the famous young climate activist, Greta Thunberg. Her actions and missions do not go unnoticed, and she has done wonderful things to help young people get involved in the Climate Crisis through her Climate Strikes. Her work is important, and I applaud her. However, there is a clear gap of representation in the media of climate activism. Climate Change is a worldwide issue that affects many people today and will continue to affect many people in the future. The truth is, many countries are already bearing the brunt of these issues. Many of these countries are developing nations. According to the United Nations’s reports, climate change is already impacting many small, poorer nations around the world. Here are the facts: Climate Change has raised temperatures which have caused more droughts in countries like Botswana; Important glaciers in Tajikistan are melting; and ocean levels are rising to high for small island states.
Climate Change disproportionately affects many poorer nations. Unlike America, there are no debates on the reality of climate change. Many of these countries are aware of the impacts of Climate Change because they face them everyday. Crops are dying, water is running low, and ocean levels are rising. These countries and their citizens are on the front lines of climate activism.
So where are they in the media?
Much like many things in the United States, people of color are vastly underrepresented; especially in this fight against Climate Change. Climate activism is not a white people only protest. The media has failed to represent many young activists of color. As mentioned, I applaud Greta, but I think it is important to shine the light on many other young climate activists of color. I have put together a list of many people of color fighting for our planet. Learn their names and say them proud. Environmental activism should be shown through various viewpoints; it is what this movement needs. If we turn a blind eye to people of color in this movement, we will never be able to save the planet: literally. Voices need to be heard from all vulnerable communities. People of color need to be heard in this issue.
Here is a list of a few activists fighting for our future. All of these biographies are taken from various websites and news outlets. The respective sources will be listed below each individual as to not discredit and plagiarise the various authors who wrote about these great individuals. Please check out these websites to learn more.
Deborah Adegbile, 12, Nigeria
Deborah Adegbile was born in Lagos, Nigeria. Lagos has been affected by Climate Change greatly. The rainy season has been longer and greater; floods become more frequent. Because of her experience, she has become an activist for ocean protection. She even participated in the Summit for Empowerment Action and Leadership through Heirs to Our Oceans. She has spoken to several legislators in the United States about Climate Change and it’s direct effects.
Jamie Margolin, 17, United States
Jamie is a first-generation daughter of Columbian natives. She is the co-founder of the organization Zero Hour. She is a queer, Latinx activist who advocates for many vulnerable communities. She wants to be a voice for many climate activists in Columbia who are being murdered for protesting illegal mining. She wants to be the voice for the Latinx community; she advocates for representing the various South American countries that are in danger of environmental issues.
Ridhima Pandey, India
Ridhima Pandey began her activism at 9 years old when she sued the Indian Government for its failures to address Climate Change. She has started a growing movement of young people who want to see their governments take action against Climate Change. She advocates for others to do the same because ignoring Climate Change will only cause more problems in the future and many humans’ lives are in danger.
If you have made it this far, thank you.
There are many other great youth activists that are not listed in this article. Please follow the above sources if you want to know more about these individuals. If you are interested in intersectionality in the Climate Movement, please feel free to follow the additional links below.
Mari Copeny, 12, United States
Mari Copeny is a resident of Flint, Michigan. If you don’t know already, Flint has not had clean water since 2014. Many residents are black. Mari Copeny joined the fight on behalf of her community. She fights for equality and against environmental racism (If you are unsure of this term, look out for another article this week from me about this issue). Mari advocates for the climate movement to acknowledge environmental racism. It is real, and it is prevalent. She holds weekly water distribution events and has partnered with a water filtration company that can help provide clean water to the city.
Marinel Ubaldo, Philippines
Marinel Ubaldo experienced a climate crisis first hand in 2013 when Typhoon Haiyan destroyed her hometown. She lost many friends and family. Since then, she has dedicated her life to climate justice. She advocates for representation of vulnerable nations and communities like her own. She has been to many conferences for climate change and advocates for better measures and policies by telling her story.
Xiye Bastida, 17, United States
Xiye Bastida was born outside of Mexico City in an Indigenous community. She witnessed first hand the destruction of her community, and others like it, from environmental degradation and rising temperatures. She speaks about the threat of Climate Change and environmental racism on Indigenous Communities. She advocates for bringing indigenous knowledge into the climate movement. She believes it is vital to keep indigenous communities at the forefront of this movement because they are vastly under-represented and are some of the first to be impacted.