If there’s one thing to take away from the climate crisis, it is that a movement is only as great as the sum of its parts. While figures like Greta Thunburg have been radically effective at mobilising millions of people across the globe to care about this issue, the new climate movement and its leaders are insistent that the change we need must reach everyone and exclude no one.
But there are some, like Thunberg, who have been paving the way before the rest of us had even bought disposable coffee cups. And other now-prominent figures may have only in the last couple of years realised the threat the climate crisis presents, but risen to the occasion spectacularly and devoted themselves to the cause. These leaders are a force to be reckoned with, so we’ve compiled a list of inspirational activists building their own bright future.
This 17-year-old Londoner had an instrumental hand in implementing the School Strike for Climate movement in the UK after taking heed from Sweden’s Greta Thunberg. In February, thousands of schoolchildren and young people skipped classes, and in Trafalgar Square Noga gave an impassioned speech that had a galvanizing effect. Since then, she has become a leading advocate of the U.K. Student Climate Network, worked with the Guardian and BBC Radio 4, and appeared at numerous events demanding action towards climate justice. In the activist’s own words, “I’m here to make a stand, to make a difference.”
Anna is the co-founder of the U.K. Student Climate Network and a leader of the ongoing Youth Strike for Climate demonstrations that have been attended by young people up and down the country. The UKSCN as an organisation has ballooned since its inception in December of 2018 and has become a valuable resource for those who wish to get involved with democracy through the act of striking or peaceful protesting, or those who simply don’t want to see their coastal town flooded by freezing ice-cap water. As well as organizing marches, the UKSCN has also provided free training for young protesters, helping people learn their rights.
To be a 16-year-old environmentalist already contributing the conversation around conservation is quite a feat, but as well as being an ambassador for the Born Free Foundation and the Jane Goodall Foundation Bella has been a fixture at climate protests in London this year. When you love animals as much as she does, its impossible not to see the effects of the climate crisis is having, whether it’s the depletion of food resources or the destruction of habitats. Bella believes that having empathy for both humans and animals will be crucial to our success in the battle against the crisis.
Hailing from Fort William in Scotland, Holly is just 14 years of age, but her eloquency and passion on the issue has brought her national attention. Like many of the school strikers, when she began standing outside of her school on a Friday it was her first time protesting ever, but her anger at the inaction of politicians on the issue led her to it. She has since become a key figure in the Scottish strikes, and has even put it to Nichola Sturgeon in person as to why Scotland’s carbon emissions are so high.
Another organisational hand in UKSCN and the School Strike for Climate, George, 16, has become something of a firebrand for the youth climate movement. As well as fulfilling a legal and financial strategical role in UKSCN, he’s worked with press such as the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Big Issue, notably interviewing former environment secretary Michael Gove for the latter about the government’s plans to stop the climate change. Also, his twitter is consistently jokes.