Climate Change Activists: 13 Environmental Leaders Creating a Better PATH for the Future
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recently issued a new report suggesting a significant increase in global temperatures over the next five years. According to the WMO, heat-trapping greenhouse gases and a naturally occurring El Niño event will likely cause temperatures to reach record levels. There is a 66% chance that, for at least one year between 2023 and 2027, the annual average near-surface global temperature will exceed 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. While this isn't the 1.5°C specifically mentioned in the Paris Agreement, it will be a significant experience for humanity. This is why it's important that we all take action on climate change and why we're spotlighting 13 climate change activists taking action to the next level.
Our selection of the number 13 is symbolic; it reminds us of the atomic number of aluminum, a metal integral to many aspects of modern life and especially important for crafting our aluminum refillable bottles. In this context, our 'magic number' embodies the transformative potential of human innovation and resilience in the face of this existential challenge. Each individual listed here has taken bold strides to effect change, inspiring many to join the battle against climate change and build a better path for the future. From youth activists rallying their peers to entrepreneurs sparking sustainable innovations, these leaders embody the hope and determination we all must embrace.
Alexandria Villaseñor - Alexandria is a prominent climate activist who has made a significant impact in raising awareness about climate change. Villaseñor has been at the forefront of the global youth-led climate movement. She co-founded the organization Earth Uprising and became a prominent organizer of the Fridays for Future strikes in the United States. Known for her strong advocacy for climate justice and the rights of marginalized communities affected by climate change, Villaseñor has spoken at numerous international conferences, including the United Nations Climate Action Summit in 2019. Through her passionate activism, she continues to inspire young people around the world to take action and demand urgent measures to address the climate crisis.
Ryan Hickman - Known as "Ryan Recycles," this young entrepreneur started his own recycling company at the age of 3 and has since recycled hundreds of thousands of cans and bottles. His work highlights the importance of recycling and has inspired many to do their part in reducing waste.
Vanessa Nakate, Uganda - Vanessa began as a climate activist in 2018 when she started striking at the Uganda chapter of the Fridays for Future protests. As the founder of the Rise Up initiative, she provides a platform for other African climate activists to make their voices heard internationally. She was appointed the 2022 UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for her advocacy.
Greta Thunberg, Sweden - A globally recognized figure, Greta continues to lead the Fridays for Future movement, which organizes protests against the lack of climate action by governments and industries. The movement has drawn 14 million people to the climate strikes, inspiring a generation of young activists to take a stand for the planet.
Roland Dedi, Ivory Coast - As founder and director of the Youth Network for Community Development, Roland engages youth in environmental activism. His organization has organized youth protests to defend the Banco Forest, protested against fossil fuel investment, and created programs to educate students on environmental care.
Mitzy Cortés - leader of Futuros Indigenas, the Indigenous Futures Network spreads Indigenous knowledge and narratives, defends native lands, waters, and resources, and shares indigenous practices. The network connects individuals from several indigenous communities in Mexico and seeks to mobilize the youth for environmental defense.
Txai Suruí, Brazil - an activist from the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest. She has founded the Movement of Indigenous Youth of Rondônia to advocate for the region's pressing issues and save the rainforest from further destruction. She was a presenter at the COP26 conference, voicing the concerns of indigenous peoples on planetary destruction, including deforestation in the Amazon.
Elizabeth Wathuti - Elizabeth is the founder of the Green Generation Initiative, an organization that helps local communities in Kenya implement nature-based solutions to the climate crisis. They aim to nurture an environmentally conscious generation by organizing tree-growing expeditions and eco-schooling programs.
Lefteris Arapakis - To combat overfishing and plastic pollution, Lefteris created the fishing school Enaleia to teach fishermen how to catch fish sustainably and collect discarded plastic polluting the sea. The fishermen compile over 20 tonnes of plastic from the ocean every month, making these seas hospitable to the
Autumn Peltier - Autumn Peltier is an Indigenous water-rights advocate from the Wiikwemkoong First Nation in Northern Ontario, Canada. She has been a powerful voice for Indigenous water rights from a young age. Peltier first gained international attention when she confronted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about his government's water policies when she was just 13. She has since addressed the United Nations and was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize. She continues to advocate for clean water for Indigenous communities in Canada and worldwide.
Zoe Keary-Matzner - Zoe Keary-Matzner is a young climate activist from Toronto, Canada. She has been heavily involved in the Fridays for Future climate strikes, following in the footsteps of Greta Thunberg. Keary-Matzner has used her platform to raise awareness about addressing climate change and has urged government officials to take immediate action.
Isra Hirsi - Isra is the daughter of U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar. She is known for co-founding the U.S. Youth Climate Strike, an organization inspired by Greta Thunberg's Fridays for Future movement. The organization is dedicated to pressing the U.S. government to take decisive action on climate change. Her efforts have made her a significant figure in the youth-led environmental movement. Additionally, in December 2020, she joined the board of directors of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a vault that aims to protect the world's plant genetic diversity by storing seeds of the world's food crops. She joined the Seed Vault to promote its mission and encourage sustainable agriculture. However, the details about her recent actions in 2023 were not found during the search.
Rebecca Hamilton - Rebecca Hamilton is a young climate activist from Vancouver, Canada. She made headlines in 2019 when she co-organized the city's first school strike for climate change. The strike was part of a global movement of students demanding more aggressive action from their governments to combat climate change. Hamilton's activism has helped bring climate change to the forefront of public discussion in Vancouver.
The 13 activists spotlighted here are just a fraction of those worldwide taking action to make a difference. Their work is a testament to the transformative potential of human innovation and resilience. In a world where climate change presents an ever-growing challenge, the impactful work these individuals do is essential and inspiring. As we set our sights on a future defined by sustainability, their stories illuminate the path forward, radiating hope and serving as a potent source of motivation for us all.
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