Meet the young women holding global leaders to account on climate change

This IWD, meet the young women holding global leaders to account on climate change

youth climate leaders

Globally, young women are at the forefront of the climate crisis. They’re the demographic most likely to be affected by climate change impacts, but they’re also the ones pushing world leaders to take greater action now, demanding climate action and climate justice.

This International Women’s Day, UN Women Australia has marked its theme as Changing Climates: Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow. It’s a theme that has never been more timely or important. We need to start talking about climate change and gender equity at the same time, because climate change is a threat multiplier, exacerbating existing gender gaps. It has been overlooked on International Women’s Day for too long.

To mark International Women’s Day in 2022, we’ve put together this list of young climate leaders that need to be on all of our radars. Their messages are urgent, and we need to pay attention to what they are saying. We need to push our political leaders to listen to them, too. We’ve selected young women from across continents, each with their own perspective on climate action and justice.

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Vanessa Nakate

Vanessa Nakate

25-year-old Vanessa Nakate is a climate justice activist from Uganda. She has consistently called out the erasure of African and Black voices from the global climate action movement, and campaigns for climate justice for African nations.

Dr Mya-Rose Craig

Dr Mya-Rose Craig

19-year-old Dr Mya-Rose Craig is a British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist and diversity activist. She is the founder of Back2Nature, a not-for-profit campaigning for equal access to nature for all but especially those from minority communities.

Sara Blazevic and Varshini Prakash

Varshini Prakash

Varshini Prakash and Sara Blazevic are the co-founders of the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led initiative making climate change a top election issue in the United States.

Sara Blazevic

Autumn Peltier

Autumn Peltier

17-year-old Autumn Peltier is a world-renowned Indigenous water-rights and climate activist from Canada. She is the Chief Water Commissioner for the Anishinabek Nation, and has spoken about the issue of contaminated water on Indigenous reserves.

Luisa Neubauer

German climate activist Luisa Neubauer

25-year-old Luisa Neubauer is a climate activist from Germany and a leading figure in the Fridays for Future school strike movement. She’s encouraged other young people to turn their climate anxiety and grief into action.

Anjali Sharma

Anjali Sharma
Australian climate activist Anjali Sharma

Australian climate activist Anjali Sharma was the lead litigant in a class action suit, including seven other young students, that saw the federal court rule that the federal environment minister  had a duty of care towards young people in relation to climate change impacts. The ruling was the first of its kind in the world, and saw Sharma named as a finalist in the international Children’s Climate Prize.

Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg

It’s impossible to talk about youth climate leaders without mentioning the indomitable Greta Thunberg, now aged 19. The Swedish activst is the leader of the Fridays for Future school strike movement, and has consistently challenged world leaders on their climate inaction. As she said recently, there’s no more time for “blah, blah, blah”.

Xiye Bastida

19-year-old Xiye Bastida is a climate activist and a member of the Indigenous Mexican Otomi-Toltec people. She is a lead organiser of the Fridays For Future in New York and is also the co-founder of Re-Earth Initiatve. Bastida has been an advocate for the inclusion of Indigenous voices in climate activism.

Isra Hirsi

U.S climate and racial justice activist Isra Hirsi

19-year-old Isra Hirsi, a climate and racial justice activist from the United States, is the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of the US Youth Climate Strike. She is an advocate for intersectionality and diversity within the climate justice movement

Paloma Costa

leaders
Paloma Costa

Brazilian climate activist Paloma Costa is a lawyer and human rights defender who has coordinated Brazil’s youth delegations to several climate conferences. She is a member of the Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change for the United Nation Secretary-General.

Brianna Fruean

leaders
Brianna Fruean

23-year-old Brianna Fruean, from Samoa, has been leading grassroots projects pushing for climate justice in the Pacific. She is a founding member of the 350.org group Pacific Climate Warriors. At COP26 last year, she addressed world leaders telling them: “I don’t need to remind you of the reality of vulnerable communities. The real question is whether you have the political will to do the right thing.”

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