Thursday, January 30, 2020

Fifty Shades of Greta

Greta Thunberg may be the the world's most famous activist but she is quick to shine the spotlight on the thousands of other activists around the world. Luisa-Marie Neubauer is an activist who is commonly called the German face of the Fridays for Future movement. However, Neubauer rejects comparisons with Greta. "We're building a mass-movement and reaching out quite far in our methods of mobilizing and gaining attention. What Greta does is incredibly inspiring but actually relatively far from that," she said.

Many activists have been fighting in the trenches long before Greta came on the scene. Greta is a recent incarnation in a lineage of young environmental advocates that dates back decades. More than a quarter century ago a 12-year-old by the name of Severn Cullis-Suzuki spoke at the plenary session of the Rio Earth Summit. She may have been among the the first to say "we are fighting for our lives" a phrase which has become the battle cry of this generation. Ten years ago, 11-year old Smoan Brianna Fruean founded the Samoan chapter of after a powerful cyclone devastated her community. At 16, she became the youngest person ever to win the prestigious Commonwealth Youth Award.

Here is a brief introduction to 50 young activists that are fighting for the health of our planet and our communities.

Aditya Mukarji, is from New Delhi India, In March 2018 he began waging war on plastic straws. Within just five months, he had already helped replace more than 500,000 plastic straws at restaurants and hotels in New Delhi.

Aidan Dresang is a climate justice advocate and digital organizer from Madison, Wisconsin. When he was younger, he had a profound interest in environmental education, activism, and justice. This passion quickly turned into community organizing and eventually led to his involvement with YCAT where he served as one of their executive directors. He is now with the Wisconsin's Chapter of USYCS.

Amariyanna "Mari" Copeny (aka Little Miss Flint), is a youth activist from Flint, Michigan. She is best known for raising awareness about Flint's ongoing water crisis and fundraising to support underprivileged children in her community and across the country. When Amariyanna was eight years old, she wrote a letter to President Barack Obama in order to draw attention to the Flint Water Crisis in her hometown. Her letter prompted a response from the president where he shared that "letters from kids like you are what make me so optimistic about the future". On May 4, 2016 he visited Flint to see first-hand the devastation to the lives of Flint's citizens as a result of their lead-poisoned water supply. That visit resulted in the declaration of a federal state of emergency in January 2016 and contributed to a nationwide awareness of the city's critical situation. Obama eventually authorized $100 million to fix the crisis. Since then, measures have been taken to help eradicate the problem. On April 13, 2017, she addressed a large crowd at the "Stand Up to Trump" rally in front of the White House in Washington, D.C., telling them that, during his 2016 campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump promised the people of Flint, including herself personally, that he would fix the water crisis. She declared that President Trump has not fulfilled his campaign promise. Not limiting her advocacy to her own hometown, she also spoke against Trump's immigration policies. In 2018, Amariyanna and Pack Your Back teamed up again for The Little Miss Flint & PYB Water Drive, a GoFundMe crowdfunding effort to raise money for bottled water, as the state’s free bottled water program for Flint residents had been discontinued by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. Close to $50,000 was raised during the month-long campaign, enough for over 200,000 bottles of water.

Arshak Makichyan is from In Moscow, Russia. He pickets for climate action, risking arrest in a country where street protest is tightly restricted. "I am from Russia,where everyone can be arrested for anything," Arshak says. "But I am not afraid to be arrested. I’m afraid not to do enough."

Artemisa Xakriabá is an Indigenous climate organizer and activist from In Brasilia, Brazil. Artemisa and her peopleare fighting for more than just their lives. She recently said, "we fight for our Mother Earth because the fight for Mother Earth is the mother of all other fights...We are fighting for your lives. We are fighting for our lives. We are fighting for our sacred territory. But we are being persecuted, threatened, murdered, only for protecting our own territories. We cannot accept one more drop of indigenous blood spilled."

Autumn Peltier, is an Eagle Clan Anishinaabekwe from the Wiikwemkoong First Nation in Northern Ontario Canada. She has been a water warrior since the age of 8, ever since she learned of First Nation communities that couldn’t drink their water due to contamination from industrial activity and oil pipelines. In 2019, Autumn was named the Chief Water Commissioner by the Anishinabek Nation, representing 40 First Nations in Ontario, many of whom lack clean drinking water. She has met with Canada's prime minister, she’s attended the Assembly of First Nations Annual General Assembly and she’s marched on the highway in the name of water protection. Autumn was a nominee for the International Children’s Peace Prize and spoke to the UN General Assembly at the launch of the International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development in 2018.

Ayakha Melithafa is a South African environmental activist from Eerste River in the Western Cape. Ayakha has witnessed the effects of drought first hand. Last September she signed a petition along with others from around the world and submitted it to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. Melithafa stands up for and mobilizes young people of color and the poor. In 2018 she joined Project 90 by 2030, an NGO working to cut the country’s carbon emissions by 90 percent by 2030 and in 2019 she joined African Climate Alliance, a pan-African climate justice group.

Beka Munduruku is an Indigenous activist from the Amazon in Brazil and her and the Munduruku people are fighting for their survival. Their world is under threat from mining and deforestation. Although she comes from a remote village, her pleas have been heard by both the U.N. and the Vatican.

Bertine Lakjohn, is from the Marshall Islands and her country is slowly disappearing under the sea. She said her interest in climate issues began when she was in high school in Japan. She facilitated a youth leadership camp focused on combating climate change.

Cruz Erdmann is now based in New Zealand, but Cruz was born and raised in Bali and has spent a lot of time diving and exploring eastern Indonesia with his family. He fell in love with the ocean from an early age, thanks to his parents, who work as marine conservationists. Cruz has logged more than 160 dives since the age of 10 and has been shooting underwater photographs since he was 12. In 2019, Cruz’s nighttime photograph of a Bigfin reef squid won him the prestigious title of Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year by London’s Natural History Museum.

Feliquan Charlemagne is the National Creative Director and Florida State Lead for US Youth Climate Strike. As an immigrant from St. Thomas in the Caribbean Virgin Islands and a current resident of Florida, Charlemagne has seen the destabilizing economic and environmental consequences of white colonialism and capitalist greed manifest in both places. He is concerned about the welfare of black people in an economy devastated by the climate crisis. He is also concerned about health problems in black communities due to poor air quality. He highlights how climate change disproportionately impacts queer communities of color due to high rates of queer youth experiencing poverty and homelessness.

Fionn Ferreira is from Ballydehob, West Cork, Ireland. Through his passion for the outdoors, he witnessed the effects of microplastic pollution on the environment. When Fionn was in high school, he invented a new method of extracting microplastics from the water using his own version of ferrofluid, a liquid developed by NASA. Fionn introduced the concept at the 2019 Google Science Fair, where he won the competition for his methodology to remove microplastics from water. Ferreira currently works as a curator at the Schull Planetarium, he is a recipient of 12 science fair awards, speaks three languages fluently, plays the trumpet at orchestra level, had a minor planet named in his honor by the MIT Lincoln Laboratory. He is destined to study at the university in Holland.

Hilda Flavia Nakabuye is from Kampala, Uganda. She launched her own chapter of Fridays for Future after she realized that the strong rains and long droughts that hurt her family’s crops could be attributed to global warming. "Before I knew about climate change, I was already experiencing its effects in my life," she says.

Helena Gualinga an indigenous leader lives in the Ecuadorian Amazon. She was awarded WWF’s top youth conservation award for fighting deforestation in her small village. She is a Sarayaku Leader and one of the team who launched the historic Kawsak Sacha (or Living Forest Declaration) in 2018, which "proposes a legal recognition of the revindication for territorial rights and Mother Earth, which is necessary and essential for the balance of the planet and the preservation of life." She has been fighting for environmental justice for many years, having participated in the fight against big oil in her home of Sarayaku since she was very young. She says if world leaders are serious about combating the climate crisis they can "help us stop the fossil fuel industry and protect indigenous people in the Amazon, because those are the people who have been protecting the world’s rainforest for a very long time now."

Howey Ou is from Guilin, China. She is China's first climate striker. She joined the worldwide Fridays for Future climate protests. Huwey contributes to the student environmental protests by planting trees. She was arrested for posting a picture of herself online in front of city government offices in a solo act of climate protest.

India Logan-Riley ia a Mori climate campaigner and a global leader in indigenous climate activism who founded Te Ara Whatu, an organization bringing dozens of fellow Mori and Pasifika youth to the United Nations to fight for their right to a future.

Isabelle Axelsson is from Stockholm, Sweden. She was one of the youngest delegates at Davos this year. Isabelle is a passionate advocate of climate science and she is part of the Stockholm branch of Fridays for Future.

Isra Hirsi is from New York, she is the daughter of US Representative Ilhan Omar and she is the co-founder of the US Youth Climate Strike. She says the climate crisis "is the fight of my generation, and it needs to be addressed urgently." Her focus is highlighting how the climate crisis disproportionately impacts the world’s most marginalized communities by moving the conversation about environmental devastation towards racial justice. Isra shares concerns that people of color are disproportionately affected by climate change.

Jamie Margolin is from Seattle, Washington. She is a queer mixed-race Latina who is the co-Executive Director of Zero Hour, a youth of color-led organization which educates communities around the country and abroad about the systems of oppression that are root causes of climate change. She is focused on capitalism, racism, sexism, and colonialism, and how these systems intersect with the climate movement to form climate justice. The Zero Hour platform calls for climate justice, including equity, racial justice, and economic justice.

Jerome Foster is from Washington DC. He is a climate activist, an author, a National Geographic Explorer, a Smithsonian Ambassador, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Climate Reporter, Founder and Executive Director of One Million of Us, and Founder and CEO of TAU VR. Among many other things, he uses his expertise as a Virtual Reality and AI Developer to fight climate change. He uses Immersive Virtual Reality to help students understand life in the most remote and impoverished parts of the world. This business plan along with his VR projects allowed him to win the World Series of Entrepreneurship competition in 2017. He is the recipient of the Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award as well as the Congressional Distinguished Activist Award. His youth movement brings together climate action, gun violence, immigration reform, gender equality and racial injustice. He is a highly accomplished human rights and environmental rights advocate who is also one of the leaders of the Fridays for Future School Strike Movement. Jerome lead the White House Climate March in Washington, DC on September 20th which brought out 10,000 people. Jerome was selected to be the first and only person under 18 to work as an intern for Citizens Climate Lobby and he gave a compelling presentation to DC City Council members in support of the Clean Energy DC Act of 2018 which passed with the most aggressive emission restrictions in the country. He won the the DC State Board of Education selection for serving as the only high school intern to update DC’s highschool graduation requirements also he was selected as the young intern for Congressman John Lewis on Capitol Hill for seven months. He was selected by the Office of the State Superintendent as the only high school student to attend Harvard University School of Law to take the graduate school course of International Environmental Governance, Policy, and Social Justice as well as Calculus II. Jerome hopes to attend either Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford, or Princeton University. He plans to double major in Quantum Physics and Computer Science and minor in Climatology Science.

Kaluki Paul Mutuku is from Kenya and he has been actively involved in conservation since college, where he was a member of an environmental awareness club, and has been a member of the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change since 2015. Raised in rural Kenya by a single mother, Mutuku’s vigorous activism, was inspired by the direct challenges his family (and wider community) faced from the effects of climate change: "Growing up, I witnessed mothers cover kilometers to fetch water," he says.

Karen Dong is an organizer from Watchung, New Jersey and currently resides in New York. She has worked in climate advocacy for over a year and she works alongside other organizers from around the country as Geographical Outreach Director for the US Youth Climate Strike. She is also a current student at the University of Delaware pursuing a double major in Energy and Environmental Policy and Political Science and a minor in Economics.

Karla Stephan is from Bethesda Maryland. She is the National Finance Director for US Youth Climate Strike and hails from a Lebanese and Syrian immigrant family, having fled during the 2006 invasion of Lebanon by Israeli forces. Karla says, "Nature needs us to speak up and break the silence about the violations against our oceans and forests. As the finance director, I will strive to make our movement more successful by partnering up with responsible sponsors and allocating resources to accomplish our goals."

Leah Namugerwa is a Ugandan student striker with FridaysForFuture. She strikes every Friday in order to protest and call for better solutions to plastic pollution and many other environmental insults. Namugerwa was inspired to action after becoming aware of widespread hunger in Northern Uganda caused by prolonged drought, as well as several deadly landslides in Eastern parts of the country. "There are many environmental issues happening in my country but I barely see them in media or reported by anyone," she laments. "Media is ever reporting politics and celebrity gossip. The silence on environmental injustice seems to be intentional. Most people do not care what they do to the environment. I noticed adults were not willing to offer leadership and I chose to volunteer myself. Environmental injustice is injustice to me."

Liza Zhytkova, was born in Belarus but grew up in the US, where she says her interest in climate issues started within the past year. "I just felt like this is a very pressing issue and there's not enough dialogue about it," she said. "So here I am."

Loukina Tille is from Switzerland. "We have less and less snow every winter" she says. "The soil is drier because of the heatwaves, and the weather is changing. I feel scared that the natural cycle of nature is being messed up. It’s real. We can see and feel it. My generation is facing the climate crisis directly. What we do gives me a lot of hope because in just a few months, we managed to bring the climate conversation everywhere. I strike because I want to make an impact, and this is a really meaningful way for me to act. We are under pressure, and we see that our world leaders need to be pushed. I strike because it makes sense to disrupt our day-to-day lives when we are facing a crisis. If we keep going as usual, we go toward our own extinction. My generation has a vision for the world we need to design. We need to imagine a new global way of thinking when it comes to the climate crisis and the environment. We need people to read the reports, get educated and come to the strikes. I need people to go out of their comfort zone! I need people to read scientific reports. I need people to open up to one another and decide what to do as a society. I need people to take a stand and come strike with us. Tell Congress there is no room in government for climate deniers."

Luisa-Marie Neubauer grew up in Hamburg-Iserbrook district. She studies Geography at the University of Göttingen since 2015. She has received a scholarship from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia[6] and a scholarship Alliance 90/ The Greens-affiliated Heinrich Böll Foundation. Neubauer has been a youth ambassador of the Non-govermental Organization ONE since 2015. She has also been a member of the Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations[11],, the Right Livelihood Award foundation[1], the Fossil Free campaign and The Hunger Project. On 10 January 2020, it was announced that Neubauer had turned down an offer by Siemens to sit on their energy board. In a statement Neubauer said that "If I were to take it up, I would be obliged to represent the company’s interests and could never be an independent critic of Siemens," she explained. "That is not compatible with my role as [a] climate activist." "It feels like we're sitting in a car about to drive into an abyss. But instead of hitting the brakes, it accelerates. We were put into this car without anyone asking us. This abyss really exists. Man-made climate change is real and by now we're experiencing the grave changes that it's bringing." Luisa-Marie said. "Our drivers are the politicians, decision makers and industry C.E.O.s that are stepping on the gas pedal." She holds the political class responsible, especially white men from the northern hemisphere, for being painfully slow while implementing needed climate measures. She believes the northern atmosphere is obligated to decrease their standard of living to pay for the future change of the global south towards an environmental way of life. Neubauer claims that men as a gender have failed in human history and women would do a much better job.

Madeline Diamond is from Australia. She is a sustainability advocate who was a finalist for Young Australian of the Year in 2019. She used the publicity to fight for climate justice. Madeline founded a youth-led community group called Trash Mob which holds clean-up events and advocates for waste-free solutions.

Madelaine Tew is from Teaneck, N.J.. As the Financial Director of Zero Hour, she helped to secure a $16,000 grant for the organization, and has led the financial team’s fundraising endeavors, helping to raise around $70,000 for the organization. "We need to completely divest from fossil fuels to transform our economy to all clean energy to have a rapid cultural shift. We need to protect the land treaties of Indigenous communities that are being jeopardized by the fossil-fuel industry," Madeline said. "Disaster will come from inaction. One part of Zero Hour’s mission is to fight for a future that is not just livable for our generation but also one in which we flourish."

Madison Pearl Edwards is an activist from Belize. In 2018 she was recognized with a special mention at the WWF International President’s Youth award awards ceremony. She has been advocating for the protection of the Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest reef system in the world and home to Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System World Heritage site, for the past three years. Through her blog and social media, Madison has helped mobilize public support against offshore oil exploration in Belize, which resulted in the adoption of the permanent moratorium on all extractive activities in Belize waters in December 2017. The move not only made Belize one of only three countries in the world with such legislation but is expected to help take the Belize Barrier Reef World Heritage site one step closer to being removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger. "I feel proud that Belize has taken such an important step forward and that we helped make it happen but there is so much more we all can – and need to – do. Destroying our natural resources with selfish and short-sighted interests is not OK. I’d like to encourage children around the world to stand up for our planet. Our parents and grandparents have enjoyed a beautiful home and we and our children deserve the same. Together we must send a message to our leaders that they are responsible for the planet we will live on in the future and they must make it one they would be proud to leave behind," said Madison.

Marinel Ubaldo is from the Philippines. Her life was turned upside down when a super typhoon ravaged her home and now she campaigns for her community to be safely rehomed and for her government – and governments across the world – to start facing up to the true impacts of climate change. Millions of people are suffering from the catastrophic effects of climate change, and those who have contributed least are paying the most. As Marinel says: "Some countries that have historically contributed most to climate change are still not fully feeling its effects. It’s important that they hear our stories, so they realize that it is affecting real people today."

Manal Bidar is a climate activist from Morocco, said she’s been fighting for the climate since she was little. In 2016, she organized her first ever climate strike, and she now works with other Moroccan youth, organizing climate strikes and leading recycling workshops.

Melati and Isabel Wijsen are from the island of Bali in Indonesia. The are sisters who work to reduce plastic use on their home island. They encountered a plastic epidemic swimming in the seas just off her childhood beach, Melati recalls emerging from the ocean with a plastic bag wrapped around her arm. Inspired by a school lesson on influential world leaders, the sisters founded Bye Bye Plastic Bags. They organize petitions, awareness-raising campaigns and massive beach clean-ups. Since then, Bali has announced a law banning single-use plastic, thanks in part t. efforts. Melati and Isabel were selected as TIME Magazine’s Most Influential Teens and CNN’s Young Wonders.

Mia DiLorenzo is a climate justice advocate from the Twin Cities Metro area in Minnesota. She’s worked alongside the strike movement for over a year and has organized with the Minnesota Youth Climate Strike as a chapter lead before becoming the Chapter Development Director. She strongly believes in the power of grassroots organizing and she works alongside organizers across the U.S to pursue the implementation of a Green New Deal.

Naelyn Pike is a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, but is Chiricahua Apache. She is an Indigenous Rights and Environmental Leader fighting to protect sacred lands, a passion that is in her blood. Her family founded Apache Stronghold, a nonprofit community organization of grassroots organizers coming together to battle continued colonization, defend holy sites and freedom of religion.

Nina Gualinga is an indigenous woman leader of the Kichwa community of Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon. She is the recipient of the WWF International President’s Youth award in 2018. She has been an advocate for climate justice and indigenous rights since the age of eight. She is a defender of nature and communities in the Amazon. She represented Sarayaku youth at the final hearing before the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in Costa Rica, winning a landmark case against the Ecuadorian government for violating Sarayaku rights and territory for oil drilling. She calls for indigenous rights and a fossil fuel free economy at various national and international fora including the historic Paris Climate summit. "My inspiration comes from the earth itself, all the beauty of life expressed in so many ways. My motivation comes from the people around me who are fighting every day to protect their families and their home, the Amazonian rainforest. I am very thankful to receive this prize because to me this prize not only honours my work, but it honours the work of everyone that fights by my side for the well-being of our planet and our people," said Nina.

Ridhima Pandey is from Haridwar, India. When she was just 9 years old she helped to file a legal complaint against the Indian government for failing to act on climate change. It culminated in the National Green Tribunal Act of 2010. More recently Ridhima joined 15 other kids in filing a complaint to the U.N. against Germany, France, Brazil, Argentina and Turkey, arguing that the nations’failure to tackle the climate crisis amounted to a violation of child rights. Several years previously, Pandey’s entire family were displaced by the Uttarakhand floods of 2013, claiming the lives of hundreds of people including her family members and friends. Her mother is a forestry guard and her father an environmental activist. In 2017, she told The Independent, "My government has failed to take steps to regulate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are causing extreme climate conditions. This will impact both me and future generations. My country has huge potential to reduce the use of fossil fuels, and because of the Government’s inaction, I approached the National Green Tribunal."

Rose Whipple is a community organizer from Minnesota who has taken part in the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline. She has also linked the issue of climate change to broader political concerns, including racism and long-standing grievances among indigenous groups.

Ryan Hickman is a champion of recycling from San Juan Capistrano, California. He visited Capitol Hill last year to give a significant push to a society-wide standardized labeling system designed to eliminate recycling confusion and contamination. In 2016, Ryan’s recycling story went viral and ever since he has been featured on web sites, television and radio stations around the planet. He’s a 2017 CNN Young Wonder, and he’s a multiple time WE DAY speaker and has been featured on NBC, CNN, CNBC, PBS, FOX News, Amazon Prime’s SELF MADE series, Australia’s Channel 7 Sunrise morning show, Huffington Post, Voice of America, David Wolfe, AJ+, UpWorthy, Zoomin, NOW THIS!, AOL Mini-Moguls, 60 Second Docs, ATTN:, KBS, USA Today, Univision, Good Morning America, The TODAY SHOW and ABC World News. Ryan has been recognized internationally for his recycling efforts and he was awarded the 2017 Citizen of the Year by his hometown of San Juan Capistrano and he was recognized by the Orange County Register as one of the 100 most influential people of 2017. Ryan was selected in 2018 by MSN in their top 15 kids changing the world and Good Housekeeping in 2019 for their list of 40 kids who have changed the world and was featured in TIME Magazine for Kids and National Geographic as well as being featured as a WHIZ KID in OC Family Magazine and a host of other accolades.

Sabirah Mahmud is a 17-year-old intersectional climate activist from Philadelphia, PA. She began organizing with the US Youth Climate Strike in February of 2019 starting as a local organizer in Philadelphia, soon after becoming the Pennsylvania State Lead and is now rising up to the position as National Logistics Director. She works to create a powerful and impactful movement with the youth at the forefront while making sure that they are diverse and involve inclusive space.

Sarah-Anna Awad, is from Austria, which she said is "facing a big crisis with our glaciers melting." She represents the World Association of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides.

Tekanang, is from the tiny reef-lined island nation of Tuvalu and has been involved in climate issues since 2013. His country is spread across less than 20 square miles in the South Pacific and sit, on average, about 6 feet above sea level.

Salomée Levy is a French-Belizean youth activist, artist, writer, and State Liaison for US Youth Climate Strike. She launched We The Immigrants in 2018, an online platform where immigrant youth are given a platform to share their experiences, she was selected to join international activism congress, and has ambitions to become the first female prime minister of Belize. Levy says, "I am passionate about giving people of color a seat at the table and strive for environmental justice around the world."

Salvador Gómez-Colón, When Hurricane María devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, Salvador was told his community faced the prospect of no power or electricity for at least a year. In response, he created the Light and Hope for Puerto Rico campaign to distribute solar-powered lamps, hand-powered washing machines and other supplies to more than 3,100 families on the island. Salvador continues to support the implementation of smart energy systems in Puerto Rico and has launched the Light and Hope for the Bahamas humanitarian initiative. Salvador was named one of TIME Magazine’s 30 Most Influential Teens of 2017 and received the President’s Environmental Youth Award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Diana Award for social humanitarian work in 2019.

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is the Earth Guardians Youth Director. He is an indigenous climate activist, hip-hop artist, and powerful voice on the front lines of a global youth-led environmental movemen. He has been fighting for climate justice since he was six years old. He has given multiple TED Talks about environmental activism and spoke, in at least three languages, at the UN General Assembly on Climate Change at age 15. His first book, We Rise, was released in 2017 and encourages others to join the movement to help protect Earth.

Xiye Bastida lives in New York but she spent most of her life in San Pedro Tultepec, Mexico as part of the Otomi-Toltec indigenous peoples. She has personally witnessed frequent flooding of her hometown due to climate change. Xive led 600 of her peers in a climate walkout from her Manhattan high school. She currently has a role on the administration committee of the Peoples Climate Movement, to bridge connections between youth and existing grassroots and climate organizations. She is a member of Sunrise Movement and Extinction Rebellion. She also launched a youth activism training program to expand the climate justice movement and she received the Spirit of the UN award in 2018 for her activism. "Earth is our home," she says. "It gives you air, water and shelter. Everything we need. All it asks is that we protect it."

Xóchitl Guadalupe Cruz is from Mexico and she invented a solar powered water heater out of recycled materials. The invention earned her UNAM’s (National Autonomous University of Mexico) the Institute of Nuclear Sciences.

Veer Qumar Mattabadul comes from the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, he said he's been involved in climate issues for about four years. I do blue cleanups, cleaning the sea, cleaning the seaside, and even cleaning rivers. We also have international stakeholders, professional swimmers and divers who are helping us. I'm also on the national youth council. We tend to reject youth because we are considered as useless in most societies. I think the youth is not useless — we are simply used less.

Vidit Baya is from Udaipur, India. He started his climate strike with just six people in March; by September, it was 80 strong.

Zanagee Artis is from Long Island, New York. He attends Brown University, his academic interests are political science, public policy, environmental science, and international relations. Zanagee became inspired to get involved in environmental conservation and climate justice work through his work with Save The Manatees. He also notes the climate scientists’ prediction that the Long Island Sound waters will rise far quicker than the rest of the world’s waters, something that would directly affect him and his community.

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