As of January 24th, 2023, the doomsday clock stands at 90 seconds to midnight, the closest to catastrophe is has ever been. Founded by the bulletin of the atomic scientists, the doomsday clock has become a universally recognised indicator of the world vulnerability to global catastrophe caused by manmade technologies- including climate change. Linking climate change to the clock going forward, the bulletin discusses how tackling climate change would require faith in multiple institutions of governance, and that the invasion of Ukraine has weakened the global will to cooperate on issues that affect us all.
Whilst the creators of the clock have a “turnback the clock challenge 2023” many people are still unaware of the effects of climate change, with huge numbers of people aware of the effects of climate change on indigenous people, and people still boiling down the work of Greta Thunberg down to ‘complaining’.
Here are 5 climate change activists who are leading the conversations on climate change:
Leah Namugerwa is known for leading tree planting campaigns and enforcing the plastic bag ban in her home county of Uganda. Inspired by the work of Greta Thunberg, she began by joining school strikes in 2019 with Fridays for future Uganda. She also launched a birthday trees project after planting 200 trees on her 15th birthday. The initiative gifts seedlings to those who choose to celebrate by planting trees. Namugerwa also was a an influential voice for the Ugandan government in pushing for them to implement the Paris climate agreement
“I noticed adults were not willing to offer leadership and I chose to volunteer myself. Environmental injustice is injustice to me.”
Anuna De Wever:
De Wever was one of the first activists who promoted school strike for climate change in Belgium. She was also one of the youngest activists to board the Regina maris for a low carbon-trans-Atlantic journey to the UN climate change conference in Santiago. She then also did an internship with the green’s European free alliance in the European parliament.
"This is what the youth wanted, a seat at the table, but of course nothing concrete has happened yet. Drastic measures must be taken to prevent global warming.”
Jerome Foster II:
Justice activist and voting rights advocate Jerome Foster II is history’s youngest white house advisor. He serves on the white house environmental justice advisory council under Biden. He is one of the major organisers of Fridays for future in Washington and is a prominent figure in climate activism amongst the black and indigenous communities.
During a climate strike at the white house gates when he was 16, foster was quoted: “Adults take note of this message: Young people like myself should not have to take on this burden, this is supposed to be your job but now we have to go on hunger strikes, meet with government officials, and start a global movement for you to even notice,"
Coleman is the co-founder and co-executive of US youth climate strike, a non-profit organisation aiming to raise awareness and demand action concerning climate change, which she established together with fellow activists Alexandria Villaseñor and Isra Hirsi when she was 13!
Coleman is also a writer for the bulletin of the atomic scientists- the doomsday clock authors as mentioned above.
It wouldn’t be an article about youth climate activist without mentioning Thunberg. Arguably the most prominent activist- she rose to fame at 16 when she started striking outside the Stockholm parliament building in 2018.
"Our house is falling apart and our leaders need to start acting accordingly because at the moment they are not," Thunberg said whilst speaking to the Members of the European Parliament and EU officials in Strasbourg in April 2019
She has inspired more than 1.6 million youth to take action by going to the streets to demand more impactful efforts in combating climate change.
These activists, amongst many other youth climate activists, are campaigning for change for their future, as whilst climate change affects everyone, it is our future we are ruining, And climate change can’t simply be pushed away and ignored until the world is on fire.
There is no planet B.