The Next Greta Thunberg: Five Young People Fighting Climate Change

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In March 2019, Greta Thunberg led a protest of more than one million students around the world to raise awareness about climate change. Greta is a Swedish climate change activist that made headlines globally for standing up to climate change as just a teenager.

Global strike for climate change
Global strike for climate change

While she inspired many other young people to do the same, she is not the only young activist. Children and teenagers, who are the most affected by climate change, have been making an impact all over the world.

 

Alexandria Villaseñor 

Alexandria was 13 years old when she got caught in a smoke cloud in California. Due to her issues with asthma, this made her incredibly sick. This led Alexandria to research the cause of the fire, which is ultimately global warming.  

After joining her mother’s climate change courses at Columbia University, Alexandria joined Zero Hour, a youth-led movement. Inspired by Greta, Alexandria skips school every Friday in order to protest against lack of climate action in front of the headquarters of the United Nations in New York, where she now lives.  

Today, Alexandria is 15 years old and is the founder of the climate change education group Earth Uprising. She attended the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen in 2019 and filed a legal complaint with other activists against those that failed to uphold the Paris Agreement.  

Alexandria bravely stands up for what she believes in and encourages young people to educate themselves on climate change. Her efforts have inspired others to speak up and try to make a difference in order to save the planet. 

You can find her on Twitter here.

 

David Wicker

David is 15 but has been a climate change activist for over a year. David lives in Italy and organises Fridays for Future in Turin. He calls for people to put life before profit, preaching that climate justice is social justice.

David believes that if we don’t acknowledge this, we have already failed as a society. Young but wise, David organises protests and leads other young people in order to raise awareness and urge governments to prioritise climate change on their agendas. He wants them to create new regulations and respect agreements and treaties that aim to fight climate change.

The Fridays for Future protests have been met with a lot of resistance by those who believe that children should be in school. The young people participating retaliate with the fact that they won’t have a future if climate change isn’t taken seriously.

This was acknowledged by Italy’s education minister, Lorenzo Fiormonti, who urged schools to consider the initiative. He argued that the climate strike is essential for the students’ future.  

David further explains that since he and his peers cannot vote and make real change, this is the only way for them to raise their voice and be heard.

Follow David’s journey here.

 

Lilly Platt 

Lilly was only seven years old when she noticed the plastic on the ground while walking with her grandfather in Holland. When she found out that plastic is dangerous to animals, she decided to do something about it and started Lilly’s Plastic Pickup.

Today she is 11 and hopes to educate the world, including global politicians and policy makers, about the detrimental effects of climate change and plastic pollution. Lilly is a youth ambassador for various organisations and is among the top 100 influencers tackling plastic pollution.  

Back on the walk that changed her life forever, she counted 91 pieces of plastic pollution in just 10-15 minutes. As of today, she has picked up more than 100,000 pieces of plastic.

She continues to go on clean ups and makes sure to sort all the plastic into groups. Lilly then posts the photos of social media to spread awareness and encourage people to do the same.

Although Lilly picks up plastic every day and carries reusable bags and water bottles with her, she understands that she can’t do it alone. That is why she continues to raise awareness and hopes that more people will join her in the battle against climate change and pollution.

  

Jerome Foster II 

The young American was just 14 years old when he founded an immersive technology company, TAU VR. A few years later, in November 2017, he founded The Climate Reporter, a youth-led international news blog dedicated to environmental truth.  

Jerome is also a Smithsonian Ambassador and a National Geographic Explorer. Just last year Jerome hosted a Washington DC youth climate strike at the White House. He also spent last summer striking at Harvard University.  

Today, Jerome is 18 and is the executive director of OneMillionOfUs, an international youth voting and advocacy organisation. It aims to educate, empower and mobilise a movement of young people to be civically active and engage on the local and global stage.

Through their intersectional youth-focused civic partnerships, OneMillionOfUs has built a massive coalition that will provide young people with the tools they need to spur systemic change in their communities, school buildings and political offices.

 

Hannah Testa

Hannah was just 15 years old when she partnered up with Georgia State Senators for the annual Plastic Pollution Awareness Day. Hannah is the founder of Hannah4Change and is a PPC Youth Ambassador.

She has been speaking up for animals and the environment since she was in kindergarten and she hopes to spread awareness to fight plastic pollution as well as climate change.

According to her research, the average American uses 500 plastic bags each year, and the U.S. uses 500 million plastic straws each day that end up polluting the oceans. Hannah hopes to keep spreading awareness to change the way people treat plastic but she also wants policymakers to push for greener laws.  

Two years ago she spoke in front of 56 senators about the need to work together to tackle the challenge of climate change. Hannah has also called to the residents and businesses of her home state Georgia, to reduce their consumption of single-use plastic products.

Climate change is a growing concern that has caused millions of young people from all over the world to worry about their futures. Since young people are unable to vote until the age of 18 and time is of the essence, many activists have joined Fridays for Future. This movement has young people skipping school in order to strike and raise awareness about the environment. These young people are taking their future into their hands and stepping up to protect the planet.

Photo: Shutterstock


These five aren’t the only people working hard for our futures:

Dr. Emily Duncan, Forbes „30 Under 30“ Innovator – Love for Turtles Beats Plastic Pollution


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