Greta Thunberg has rightfully taken the world by storm, becoming the face of youth climate activists. But she’s not the only climate activist you need to take notice of.
Here are more youth climate activists fighting for our planet.
Varshini has been a part of and lead many protests in the name of climate change. In 2014 she spoke to people at Georgetown University as they prepared to march to the White House in protest of the Keystone XL pipeline. She is one of 11 co-founders of the Sunrise Movement– an organization built for the youth with the aim of combating the fossil fuel industry and electing leaders that will fight for the climate.
Once Sunrise was born, the group organized a sit in at Nancy Pelosi’s office. They also launched the now famous Green New Deal that has earned support from notable politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Varshini has also been openly critical of politicians. More specifically the Democratic Party for their hypocrisy. The party has frequently claimed to understand the importance of fighting climate change but has done nothing to fight it.
We didn’t ask to have the responsibility of protecting human civilization on our shoulders. But we’re stepping up to the plate.
Varshini’s movement is also tied to issues that go beyond clean air and clean water- which of course is incredibly important. It’s also focused on expanding on “ideas and work that communities of color, working people, front-line communities, have been calling for, for a long time, like decades.”
Isra is a 16-year-old experienced activist. Like Greta, Isra is a natural at addressing crowds, calling the climate fight “The fight of my generation.” She’s the co-executive director of U.S. Youth Climate Strike. The organization is still in its infancy after being formed in January of 2019 but their impact is far reaching.
In March of this year the organization inspired roughly 1.6 million students across 120 countries to skip school to “demand action on climate change from adults.”
Isra also helped rally students to strike on September 20th in association with the global climate strike.
Her activism began early. She attended her first protest at just 6-years-old. At 12-years-old she protested with her family to shut down the Mall of America after the shooting of Jamar Clark by two police officers, demanding justice as the two officers were never charged for Jamar’s death.
Isra’s goal as she started becoming a climate activist was to create a platform that young people of color could see themselves. She’s been pivotal in getting presidential candidates Amy Klobuchar and Andrew Yang to agree to climate debate that was unfortunately canceled by the DNC after a lot of work by the U.S. Youth Climate Strike.
Xiuhtezcatl has been a youth activist since he was just 6-years-old. Now 19-years-old, he’s also a hip-hop artist and author.
As Youth Director of Earth Guardians, his aim is to educate and mobilize youth to fight for the planet. His approach is heavily artistic, using methods such as storytelling, art, and music. The organization has also created an app called EarthTracks which will allow users to connect with the community and monitor their personal environmental impact.
Similarly to Isra, Xiuhtezcatl uses climate justice as an intersection and focuses on how it relates to issues such as indigenous rights, racial and social justice, and economic justice. It’s through this lens that Xiuhtezcatl believes will bring us closer together on these issues.
There are many more youth activists across the world skipping school, demanding action, creating innovations, and demanding change from our leaders.
They aren’t angsty teens. They’re future leaders taking on an issue they should’ve never been given in the first place.
Let’s stand with them.
Cover image courtesy of The Nation