The young climate campaigners to watch before the UN’s Paris summit
Some are students and others work as journalists or community organisers, but all are stimulating debate in the lead up to the climate summit.
Youth activists and bloggers from around the world are stimulating the public debate in the lead-up to the climate summit in Paris, shadowing negotiators, co-ordinating fossil fuel divestment campaigns at universities and exploring the links between social and environmental problems. Some are students and others work as journalists or community organisers. Here are the ones to read and follow.
Israeli-Canadian Leehi Yona was named Canada’s top young environmentalist, helps coordinate the US youth delegation for SustainUS and leads the college fossil fuel divestment campaign at Dartmouth College. “In 2015-2016, I will conduct research on the intersection of climate change science, policy, and civil society. I write about divestment, the UN, and the Arctic. I blog regularly onAdopt a Negotiator and live-tweet UN negotiations at @LeehiYona,” she says.
South African Alex Lendferna is a Fulbright and Mandela Rhodes scholar researching climate justice for a PhD at the University of Washington. “The focus of my research is topics like climate change induced migration, geo-engineering, carbon taxes, fracking and climate reparations. I am writing a book on the fossil fuel divestment movement, and have led campaigns to divest the University of Washington, the Gates Foundation, and the City of Seattle and its pension fund. I work with Carbon Washington, a non-profit advocating a carbon tax in Washington State and blog on climate change”.
Anna Perez Catala
Spanish environmental scientist Anna Pérez Català writes on climate change and development, blogs at Climate-Exchange.org and co-edits the environment section of United Explanations. “Since the [economic] crisis arose in southern Europe, I have been involved in many different types of grassroots movements to fight for a better education, democracy, civil rights and a better planet. Climate change is, to me, the culmination of this self-destructive system, and I try to show the links between the social and environmental crises,” she says.
Indian Avik Roy has tracked climate negotiators from India and South Asia at climate conferences in Lima and Warsaw and now works with Asian News International (ANI) , climate think-tank, RTCC and Thomson Reuters. “My area of interest centres on communities’ rights to forest, environmental protection and international climate politics. India is a key player at the global platform. I aim to ask my government to negotiate for a fair and equitable climate deal at Paris in December.”
Diego Arguedas Ortiz
Costa Rican Diego Arguedas Ortiz is an activist and journalist covering climate summits and agriculture. “Climate change has two pillars for me: tracking global negotiations and crucial issues like gender and human rights on UN summits, and reporting its links to agriculture, droughts and biodiversity. With others colleagues, we’ve widened the public debate. Fossil fuel’s big players might feel far away, but their effects are here”.
Sieber has been a climate activist since the age of 14 when he joined German Greenpeace Youth. He blogs about civil society and politics, is a #Climatetracker and writes about Germany’s role in international climate negotiations.
Australian Linh Do has been a grassroots community organiser in Melbourne and now edits environmental newswire The Verb, a group of young writers from 17 countries. “We specialise in the UN climate negotiations. The team comes from all over the world and I work with farmers, solar engineers, frontline activists and policy wonks. We are trying to humanise environmental stories while linking them to domestic and international policy processes.”
Australian Chris Wright studied anthropology and law, blogs about the UN climate talks and works on the Adopt a Negotiator project which enables young people to shadow climate negotiators at talks throughout the year. “It was living in a remote indigenous community in Central Australia that made me realise the true impact that climate change would have. We have seen how young people can shape national and international climate policy every year at the UN negotiations,” he says.
Tais Gadea Lara
Argentine journalist Tais Gadea Lara is a Climate Reality project leader trained by Al Gore, edits Ecomania and blogs at Sustentator. She also co-hosts a radio programme Ser Sustentable. “Through journalism I can raise awareness and persuade people to change their actions,” she says.
Renee Juliene Karunungan
Filipino graduate Renee Karunungan blogs on climate justice, human rights, free speech and social change. “My eyes were opened to social issues when I was a university student in 2008”. I am now writing more about how climate change issues are intertwined with human rights”. Her work is published on Rappler.
Frederico Brocchieri is climate change advisor to the mayor of Rome, and founder and coordinator of the Italian climate network’s youth section. “I have been going to the UN climate talks since 2011: I started as member of British Council’s international climate champions team. I focus on communicating climate change science and the negotiating process and as an activist, promote ‘intergenerational equity’. We got that principle included in the UNFCCC’s Geneva negotiating text.” Work can be seen at Adopt a Negotiator , La Stampa, Il Fatto Quotidiano (ITA) and Gli Stati Generali.
Bangladeshi Risalat Khan studied climate science at Amherst College, Massachusetts, and is now a campaigner with Avaaz. “A million people move to Dhaka annually – most are climate refugees. I paint the human face of climate struggles and I try to simplify the complex science”. His work is published in the Dhaka Tribune.