Change The World | People

Young Women Leading The Charge For Environmental Sustainability

When you have a passion for something, even the smallest action can make a significant difference. With the advancement of technology and the need for comfort, we must confront the cost of neglect. How long can our world hold on with the carelessness of some companies? They pollute our lakes, chemicals leak into our air, and irresponsible mass food production, livestock farming, and deforestation are harming our ecosystems.

Let me introduce 11 remarkable young women who have taken charge of environmental sustainability, each with the hope of creating a better world for future generations.

 Jihyeon (Cherry) Sung

Jihyeon (Cherry) Sung, environmental activist

Cherry Sung from South Korea founded Greener is Cleaner while attending fifth grade in 2018. The international youth-led organization aims to empower youth, advocate for environmental awareness, and address climate change. She has volunteered at Greenpeace Korea since 2019 and currently chairs the Youth Steering Committee (YSC) of the National Environmental Education Center (NEEC) since 2021.

Elizabeth Wathuti

Elizabeth Wathuti, Kenyan climate activist

Elizabeth Wathuti is a climate activist, who was raised amidst Kenya’s forests. She founded the Green Generation Initiative (GGI), to address environmental issues. Focusing more towards education, planting trees, advocacy, and activism. By encouraging tree planting, she aims to create greener spaces and support communities through fruit orchards. Elizabeth continues her fight against deforestation and climate change, nurturing environmentally conscious individuals for the future.

Archana Soreng

Archana Soreng, climate activist

Archana Soreng is from the Kharia tribe in Odisha, India. She was a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change in 2020 to 2022. She tirelessly spreads awareness of climate change, advocates for Indigenous rights, and emphasizes their crucial role in decision-making to protect and preserve the environment.

Ewi Stephanie Lamma

Ewi Stephanie Lamma, Environmental and Climate Justice Advocate

Ewi Stephanie Lamma is a passionate Environmental and Climate Justice Advocate from Cameroon, Africa. She actively contributes to the African Climate Reality Project (ACRP) and has been recognized with a UN Agora Award. She emphasizes the crucial roles women play in decision-making related to climate change. Her work focuses on creating climate solutions that not only preserve our environment but also foster economic opportunities. Additionally, she focuses towards female entrepreneurship to lead in sustainability efforts.

Josefa Tauli

Josefa Tauli, Ibaloi-Kankanaey Igorot indigenous youth activist

Josefa Tauli is an Ibaloi-Kankanaey Igorot indigenous youth activist from the Philippines. She stands for environmental advocacy. As the Advocacy Officer of Partners for Indigenous Knowledge Philippines (PIKP) and the Policy Co-ordinator of the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN), Josefa promotes youth participation and Indigenous Peoples’ rights and knowledge. Her commitment to preserving traditional knowledge is unwavering. Josefa is a selected member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change.

Autumn Peltier

Autumn Peltier, clean water and indigenous rights activist

Autumn Peltier is an Anishinaabe water and indigenous rights activist from Wiikwemikong First Nation in Ontario, Canada, and is the Chief Water Commissioner for Anishinabek Nation. She has spoken before the United Nations General Assembly, been a featured speaker at The World Economic Forum, and at the age of 12 she stated her thoughts to the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the importance of clean water. Notably, she has been nominated three times for the International Children’s Peace Prize. She continues to advocate for clean water access and protection.

Helena Gualinga

Helena Gualinga, Ecuadorian environmental and human rights activist

Helena Gualinga is an Ecuadorian environmental and rights activist. She co-founded the Indigenous Youth Collective of Amazon Defenders and Polluter Out. Her mission is to raise awareness about the destructive impact of industries on the amazon rainforest, indigenous communities, and the planet. Her efforts inspire action and the urgent need for environmental preservation.

Katia Bannister

Katia Bannister, climate activist and community organizer

Katia Bannister is a climate activist and community organizer from British Columbia, Canada. She has dedicated herself to local environmental and social justice causes. Her work extends beyond advocacy; she actively volunteers and collaborates with organizations creating positive change. As a youth speaker and blogger, Katia spreads awareness, encouraging others to join the fight for a sustainable future.

Emily Vernall

Emily Vernall, climate and gender justice campaigner

Emily Vernall is a climate and gender justice campaigner from the United Kingdom. Her work focuses on the intricate links between climate change and global issues. She has collaborated with organizations such as SHE Changes Climate and the Future Leaders Network. Additionally, Emily had served as a youth advisor on the Global Center on Adaptation’s Inaugural Youth Advisory Board.

Joice Mendez

Joice Mendez, climate advocate

Joice Mendez is from Colombia, Paraguay. She is a dedicated climate advocate focused on clean water, food, and energy justice. Joice is a selected member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change. She is the co-founder of several organizations including the Latin American Observatory of Geopolitics of Energy, the Moema Viezzer Environmental Education Observatory, and the Binational Youth Collective of the Parana Basin 3.

Nalleli Cobo

Nalleli Cobo, activist

Nalleli Cobo, a climate activist and public speaker, grew up in South Los Angeles, California, near an active oil and gas well. At the age of nine, she recognized the detrimental impact on her health and her community. Through determination, she successfully campaigned for the permanent closure of the oil and gas well in 2013. Her personal experience inspired her to help others facing similar living conditions and health problems.

Despite being diagnosed with cancer at 19, she now lives a cancer-free life. In 2022, community support resulted in a legislation that established a Safe Zone of 3200 feet between oil wells and California communities. She was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2022 in Environmental Justice.

There is no age limit for taking a stand for what you believe in. These young women recognized the need in their communities and the world, and they took action. As the youth of today, it is important to pause and observe our surroundings. While you may not directly feel the impact of climate change, truly consider what your future generations will face. It does not have to be a grand endeavour like these young leaders, even small actions—like starting something small within your community, supporting petitions, and even educating yourself on some practices you can incorporate at home can create positive change. Just know that even the smallest action can make the biggest impact.

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