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The Youth of Tomorrow

Chronicles
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These young Eco Warriors are leading the charge to save the world.

Every year on the 5th of June, the world comes together to celebrate World Environment Day. First held in 1974, World Environment Day (WED) is the UN’s flagship campaign to raise awareness on environmental issues plaguing the world. The celebration has grown to become a global platform for public outreach, with over 143 countries participating annually.

Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg

In honour of World Environment Day, we’d like to highlight several young environmentalists helping to make a difference in this world. Many might have heard of Greta Thunberg with her speech at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit, where she criticised world leaders for their inaction in environmental issues. Below are other young leaders who deserve a mention for the role they are playing in saving the world.

The Greta Effect

Greta Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist who has received numerous honours and awards for her work in environmentalism. These include an honorary Fellowship of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, making Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People list and being the youngest Time Person of the Year, and inclusion in the Forbes list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women in 2019. She has also received two consecutive nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 and 2020.

Activism started early for Greta. As a young child she convinced her parents to adopt several lifestyle changes to reduce carbon footprint. At 15, Greta started spending her school days outside the Swedish parliament to call for stronger action on climate change by holding up a sign that said “School strike for climate”. This inspired other student protests in their own communities around the world, resulting in a school climate strike movement under the name Fridays for Future. After Greta addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, student strikes took place every week somewhere in the world, culminating in multiple coordinated multi-city protests involving over a million students each.

Greta during school strike week 79 in Hamburg, holding a sign " School strike for climate". (Photo : FB @gretathunbergsweden)
Greta during school strike week 79 in Hamburg, holding a sign " School strike for climate". (Photo : FB @gretathunbergsweden)
Champions of the Environment

Other than Greta, these are other young Eco Warriors doing their bit for the world:

Xiye Bastida
Photo : Twitter @xiyebastida
Photo : Twitter @xiyebastida

Xiye Bastida is a teenage climate activist who is one of the lead organizers of the Fridays For Future youth climate strike movement. Born and raised in Mexico, her heritage is as part of the Otomi-Toltec indigenous people. Xiye sits on the administration committee of the People’s Climate Movement, and was the recipient of the “Spirit of the UN” award in 2018.

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez
Photo : FB @xiuhtezcatlmusic
Photo : FB @xiuhtezcatlmusic

Another activist to look out for is Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, who started as early as 6 years old. Xiuhtezcatl is now a 19-year-old indigenous activist, musician, and the youth director of Earth Guardians, an organization that trains youth across the world to use civic engagement and the arts to help solve environmental issues. A hip- hop artist, Xiuhtezcatl uses music to convey powerful messages and is also not afraid to confront the government head-on - he was one of the 21 plaintiffs that sued the US Federal Government for their lack of action on climate change.

Lily Platt
Photo : cwf2019.com
Photo : cwf2019.com

One of the youngest activists of them all at just 9 years old, Lilly Platt is on a war to end plastic pollution. When she first moved to Holland her grandfather began teaching her to speak Dutch, and to help her learn numbers, they collected pieces of plastic trash and counted them. Now Lilly picks up plastic as a Youth Ambassador for the Plastic Pollution Coalition and a Child Ambassador for Hands of the World (HOW) Global and World Cleanup Day.

Saving The World One Step At A Time

Greta, Xiye, Xiuhtezcatl, and Lilly are amongst the few in a long line of champions and advocates for the environment. Their activism has proven that the youth can exert a major influence in environmental causes, contrary to popular belief. It is no longer something that only governments agencies and NGOs fight for in futility. They have successfully mobilised the youth to push for environmental change, harnessing the power of the internet and digital age while working hand-in- hand with long-time environmental heroes in the long fight to keep the planet green.

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