In Greta’s footsteps: 10 young climate activists fighting for change

LONDON – As a growing youth climate movement gathers steam, children and young people around the world are leading calls for action to curb global warming and protect their future.

Media coverage has focused on 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who, this week, joined 15 other youth campaigners in a landmark complaint to the United Nations, arguing the states’ failure to tackle climate change had breached children’s rights.

Here are some of her co-signatories and other youth leaders fighting against climate change globally:

 

Alexandria Villasenor

Alexandria Villasenor, 14, is a founder of the U.S.climate strike and protests outside the United Nations everyFriday. “I’ve been forced to organize a revolution instead of doing normal kid things,” she said.     

 

Ridhima Pandey

Ridhima Pandey, 11, from India, is already a veteran campaigner. Aged nine, she filed a legal case against the government for failing to take action on climate change and joined the petition to the United Nations.     

 

Artemisa Xakriaba

Brazilian Artemisa Xakriaba, 19, is an indigenous Amazonians youth leader and member of an alliance that protects 600 million hectares (1.5 million acres) of forest. She campaigns on the impacts of climate change on the Amazon.    

 

Raina Ivanova

Raina Ivanova, 15, is among Germany’s school strikers and helped bring the U.N. petition. She says climate fears disrupt her life and even her dreams, while her younger sisters are already asking about global warming.    

 

Leah Namugerwa

Ugandan Leah Namugerwa, 15, began campaigning after seeing news reports of landslides wiping out a Ugandan village. She joins climate strikes every Friday and is pushing for a ban on plastic bags.    

 

Margarita Naumenko

Russian Margarita Naumenko, 15, is one of the youngest members of a fast-growing Russian climate movement, despite challenges from authorities who are wary of protests and have refused to give permission to some environmental demonstrations.    

 

Raslen Jbeli

Tunisian Raslen Jbeli, 17, is among the children who filed the U.N. petition. He said he has personally felt the impacts of climate change after surviving a wildfire that claimed his neighbors’ homes last year.    

 

Chiara Sacchi

Chiara Sacchi, 17, from Argentina, is also among the U.N.petitioners. She has called for climate change to be taught in schools, and said: “It is our future and world leaders should hear us.”    

 

Wu Guanzhuo

Wu Guanzhuo, 17, helped to bring a court case that forced a polluting factory in China to close. He is fighting to raise climate awareness in his country, despite tight restrictions on protests by authorities.     

 

Yero Sarr

University student Yero Sarr, 18, founded Senegal’sfledgling youth climate movement. “If we Africans are suffering the most from climate change and Europeans lead the fight for us, that’s a problem,” he said. 

 

Sources: Thomson Reuters Foundation, Twitter, Childrenvsclimatecrisis website, Earther website, Democracy Now

—Reuters

By Sonia Elks