Most of us instantly think of making green choices when we hear the term sustainability. But sustainability is beyond buying eco-friendly items or preventing waste. Sustainability calls for individuals, corporations, and governments to do their part for the planet, to help mitigate climate change. It has become increasingly louder around the world. And while some remain unmoved and unconvinced of the criticality with which the issue must be addressed, some are valiantly advocating for environmental protection.
This blog features five young eco-activist advocating for change and inspiring and motivating millions of people around the world in amazing ways!
Isra Hirsi is a 19-year-old climate activist from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her first involvement in climate activism through her high school's environmental club during her freshman year served as inspiration for her to transform the existing systems. Hirsi rose to national prominence in 2018 as co-founder and co-executive director of the US chapter of Youth Climate Strike, organizing thousands of climate protests and demonstrations during the two years of her holding the positions. She believes in social justice and that including marginalized populations in climate discourse is critical because people are the heart of every issue. Hirsi is now in her first year at Barnard College, NY, and is focusing on a climate activism practice premised on intersectional environmentalism.
Xiye Bastida was born in San Pedro Tultepec, Mexico, and belongs to the Otomi-Toltec Indigenous community. After moving to NY with her parents in 2015 she became actively involved in the climate movement. Bastida is currently attending the University of Pennsylvania. She is the co-founder of Re-Earth Initiative and a leading organizer of the Fridays For Future (youth climate strike movement by Greta Thunberg). She also serves on the Peoples Climate Movement's administration committee, where she represents community climate organizations. Bastida sees climate change as the most pressing emergency in the world and that every community must join hands to strengthen the movement and secure a better tomorrow for everyone.
Qiyun Woo, 24, is an environmental activist and artist from Singapore. She uses distinctively stylized illustrations to raise public awareness of the threats of climate change, circular economy, and sustainability challenges. Woo believes art makes a movement unstoppable. Her artwork interprets the complex environmental issues into comprehensible, informative, and accessible content. Making it easy for the viewers to digest the crisis the world is facing through creative, interesting ways. Woo collaborates with stakeholders in the private and public sectors and hosts book clubs on ecofeminism, sustainable economic models, etc. She also creates climate-related material for digital platforms like Singapore Policy Journal.
Autumn Peltier is a 17-year-old Indigenous activist from Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island, Ontario. She is a member of the Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island in northern Ontario and an outspoken proponent for clean water with a special focus on Canada's Indigenous people. Peltier stands for protecting clean water, she believes that access to clean water is a natural right that everyone deserves. Her bravery has captured the admiration of people around the world and garnered her global recognition. For three consecutive years, Peltier was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize (2017, 2018, and 2019). Maclean's magazine included her in their list of Canada's "20 people to watch in 2020". Autumn Peltier is setting a new standard for universal access to clean water, inspiring millions worldwide.
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is a Colorado-based 21-year-old environmental activist of indigenous descent who began his activist journey at six years of age. He is also the youth director of a worldwide environmental movement of young people, Earth Guardians, and the author of the book We Rise: The Earth Guardians Guide to Building a Movement That Restores the Planet. Martinez believes young people play a major role in environmental protection. He was one of the many youths in the ongoing lawsuit against the government— suing the federal authority for failing to address the climate change crisis. Martinez has spoken at the United Nations on several occasions to bring to light how global climate action is directly linked to the fight against social inequality. Aside from standing for the Earth, the young activist also thrives as a music artist (known by his initials X), performing his music all around the world.