The world may be focusing on curbing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic currently, but scientists continue to repeat how climate crisis require even more attention considering how it threatens the ecological balance of the planet. Youngsters and teenagers have been deeply involved in the global movement that advocates for protection of the planet. On this World Environment Day we take a look at some of these activists around the world whose relentless voice continues to raise the existential threat our planet faces.
This 35-year-old indigenous leader from the Ecuadorean Amazon has successfully protected 5,00,000 acres of rainforest from oil extraction. Along with her fellow members of the Waorani indigenous group, Nenquimo took the Ecuadorean government to court as it planned to put their territory up for sale for fossil fuel companies. In 2019, Nenquimo and her group won the case establishing a historic day for the indigenous rights. For her remarkable work Nenquimo was also awarded the Goldman environmental prize, which recognises grassroots activism.
Vic Barrett is a Black, first-generation Honduran-American, and transgender, climate activist from New York, United States. He witnessed the impact of climate change first hand when his home was hit by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Barrett was smart enough to connect the dots and realise how the rising sea levels aggravated the natural disaster and the havoc that it wreaked. In 2015, Barrett became one of 21 plaintiffs, represented by Our Children’s Trust, to sue the US government for environmental degradation related to climate change.
The 22-year old climate activist from India co-founded the Fridays For Future movement in India, which was originally started by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. Ravi continues to be an outspoken activist who raises concerns regarding environmental degradation that happens in India. Based in Bengaluru, Ravi has amassed a group of young people from across the country who care about this planet.
Not only is Ou Hongyi fighting the climate crisis, she is also daring to raise voice against the authoritarian government of China. Activism is seen as a threat to the unquestionable government of China, so when 18-year-old Hongyi drew inspiration from Greta and started Fridays For Future movement, she was asked to stop. Hongyi staged solo protests outside government buildings in her city in Guilin. She was also detained along with her fellow protesters last year. The news of her arrest even prompted Greta to slam the Chinese government for mistreating climate justice activists.
The 18-year-old Indonesian activist has been protesting against Palm Oil extraction that is prevalent in her country. Production of palm oil has come under scrutiny for vast deforestation, fires and the exploitation of workers that continues to happen. When she was 15, Khairunnisa co-founded the youth-led movement Jaga Rimba that aims to question palm oil companies for exploiting Indinesian forests. The movement has also highlighted how the Laman Kinipan community in Central Kalimantan was evicted from their land as palm oil company PT Sawit Mandiri Lestari (SML) claimed to have obtained permits to manage the land.
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