“Leadership comes—most profoundly—from those who are small.” – Katie Redford
Katie Redford, human rights lawyer and Co-Founder and Director of EarthRights International, recently visited Kenyon to give a lecture on climate change and environmental justice. I attended the lecture, and learned a lot about the climate crisis and the legal process that I did not know before. Katie spoke a lot about the role young people have in making change. I left the talk feeling not only informed, but also deeply inspired. The quote above is something Katie said near the conclusion of her piece, and it left me with feelings of passion and responsibility to do my part in solving this pressing catastrophe. I was moved to do research on some of the young people who are currently leading the fight for climate justice.
Most people are familiar with Greta Thunberg, the young climate activist who is the current face of the climate justice movement. If you don’t know much about Greta, she is a 16-year-old from Sweden, and founder of Fridays for Future, a movement in which students around the world participate in school strikes every Friday. By pledging her days to her School Strike for Climate, Greta has catalyzed the protest of climate injustice. She is an extraordinarily accomplished, devoted, intelligent, inspiring young activist—but she is not alone. There are many other incredible youth climate activists fighting alongside Greta. Here is a list of eight of them!
1. Isra Hirsi
Isra Hirsi, daughter of the U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar, is just as much of a queen as her mother. Hirsi is an inspiring social justice and climate activist. She co-founded the U.S. Youth Climate Strike.
2. Autumn Peltier
Autumn Peltier is an Indigenous climate activist who lives in the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory in Canada. Autumn primarily fights for water conservation and clean water access, primarily for Indigenous communities. Autumn has spoken about these issues at the UN.
3. Helena Gualinga
Helena Gualinga is a young climate activist who primarily fights to protect her community in the Ecuadorian Amazon. She works to prevent deforestation and the fires that frequent the forest. Helena is passionate not only about the preservation of the earth but also the protection of indigenous communities around the world.
4. Xiye Bastida
Xiye Bastida was born and raised in the Otomi-Toltec Indigenous community in Mexico but currently lives in New York City. She is involved with the Peoples Climate Movement and played a large role in organizing the Fridays For Future climate strikes.
5. Vic Barrett
Vic Barrett is a climate activist from New York City, and is actually a fellow alumnus of my high school! Vic is a Fellow with the Alliance for Climate Education, spoke at the UN headquarters in NYC, and recently testified before Congress.
6. Luisa Neubauer
Luisa Neubauer is a climate activist from Germany. She is an organizer of the School Strikes for Climate in Germany and has written and published articles speaking out about the climate crisis.
7. Jamie Margolin
Jamie Margolin is a social justice powerhouse. She is the founder of Zero Hour, a youth- and women-of-color-led movement that supports young activists. Jamie also recently wrote her first book, Youth To Power, which will come out in June of next year!
8. Haven Coleman
Haven Coleman is a co-founder of the U.S. Youth Climate Strike and has been striking every week for 43 weeks so far. Haven is an unwavering and passionate advocate for saving both the earth and humanity.