If you have been following the news recently, you may be aware of the climate strikes that have been happening across the world, with young change-makers taking the lead to ask politicians and people in power to make a change in order to help reverse the effects of climate change. These climate strikes all started with a 16 year old wanting to make a difference. Greta Thunberg, a young girl from Sweden, started a school strike outside of the Swedish Parliament, which has since spread all over the world.
Greta has since spoken out, in raw honesty, on the devastating impact of climate change and how we can all make a difference to this world, calling on people in power to make more conscious choices when it comes to the environment. She has recently been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and is becoming a high-profile activist for environmental issues, which is an amazing feat for anyone, but especially so given that she is only 16 years old.
She’s not the only one though, and there are an increasing number of eco activists who are fighting for change at such a young age. So who are they? Lets meet the next generation of eco warriors…
This young activist is only 11 years old, yet has campaigned tirelessly to get clean water for the community she lives in. Mari lives in Flint, Michigan, where clean water has been scarce for the last few years. After the water supply was switched to a different river, the water was found to be contaminated, which resulted in dangerously high levels of bacteria and lead. This resulted in an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease that killed 12 people and made around 79 people sick.
Mari decided to write a letter to Barack Obama, who was president at the time, telling him more about her own experience and asking him to come to the town and meet with the community. Mari didn’t think this would happen, because he is a very busy person, but the letter prompted President Obama to visit the Flint community and the meeting went viral. Not long after he authorized $100 million to repair Flint’s water system.
Though the town received the grant, bacteria and lead is still present in the water, as it takes time to process and clean the water. This hasn’t stopped Mari though; she continues to work with non-profit organisations to hand out bottled water to the Flint community. She also works to help the children in her community, distributing around 15,000 backpacks, filled with goodies, to school children. This isn’t the last we will hear from Mari, as she hopes to run for President in 2044!
Melati & Isabel Wijsen
Melati and Isabel are two sisters who have been campaigning tirelessly, since they were 10 and 12 years old, to get plastic bags banned in Bali. Growing up in Bali, they said the plastic crisis was unavoidable, so the sisters felt like they had to do something about the problem. They decided to start an organisation, called “Bye Bye Plastic Bags”, an NGO that encourages people to say no to plastic bags, and have since delivered TED talks in London and visited the United Nations to give a presentation.
Though they had many successes in encouraging people to ditch plastic bags, they had trouble dealing with the local government, and tried hard to get them to move in the right direction. At first, the Governor of Bali ignored their requests but eventually, after a hunger strike by the two girls, the Governor eventually decided to meet with them. He then signed a memorandum to help the people of Bali to say no to plastic bags and not long after, an announcement was made that Bali would ban single-use plastic bags in 2019.
Melati and Isabel are now 15 and 17 years old, and Bye Bye Plastic Bags is now a global organisation with affiliates in several countries. The girls also organised Bali’s largest ever beach clean up, attracting over 12,000 volunteers, and we can’t wait to see what the girls do next.
This inspiring generation is taking global action, and we think with the next generation leading the way for major change, the future of the planet is in safe hands. Do you know any inspiring young people? We’d love to know so please share them with us via Twitter, Instagram or the contact form below.