As @the.mirror said in a post on the topic: “Black, brown and indigenous people have been leading the lines in #sustainability and the fight against the #climatecrisis but we don’t celebrate them enough” and we should “follow their lead.”
This well-executed series decentralizes white-centred media attention, showcasing some of the real leaders of climate justice and those have and will continue to be the most negatively affected by the Climate Crisis.
Here are some of the activists showcased in this important collaboration. Images and text written by @the.mirror and @slowfactory, sourced with permission from the @the.mirror.
“Raoni Metuktire also known as Chief Raoni or Ropni is a Native Brazilian leader and environmentalist. He is a chief of the Kayapo people, a Brazilian Indigenous group from the plane lands of the Mato Grosso and Pará in Brazil. The name Raoni is associated with the mystery, and the power of the Kayapo people. This charismatic leader has been crusading for four decades to save his homeland, the Amazon forest and indigenous culture. Beyond the Amazonia, Raoni is a living symbol of the last tribes fight to protect their millenary culture which is directly connected to nature itself. He has met world leaders, but he still lives in a hut owning nothing.”
Mari Copeny, better known as “Little Miss Flint,” @littlemissflint is a black activist that rose to national fame when she became a voice for her community amid a devastating and ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, despite being only 11 years old.
When she was eight years old, Copeny wrote a letter to President Barack Obama in order to draw attention to the Flint Water Crisis in her hometown.
Her letter prompted a response from the president and On May 4, 2016 he visited Flint to see first-hand the devastation to the lives of Flint’s citizens as a result of their lead-poisoned water supply. That visit resulted in the declaration of a federal state of emergency in January 2016 and contributed to a nationwide awareness of the city’s critical situation.
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, @xiuhtezcatl an indigenous environmental activist, hip hop artist and youth director of @earthguardians , a worldwide conservation organization.
Since the age of 6, he has fought for climate protection and spoken to large crowds about the effects of fossil fuels on the Indigenous and other marginalized communities.
Now 19, he’s one of 20 teens suing the federal government for not adequately protecting their generation from the threats of climate change.
Vic Barrett @vicbarrett_ a black, latinx, queer, trans, indigenous climate justice activist who’s work revolve around environmental racism and climate migration. Through his activism, Vic has marched in solidarity with more than 400,000 people at the People’s Climate March in New York City, traveled to Paris to attend and speak at the COP 21 UN Conference on Climate Change, and joined as a plaintiff in the lawsuit brought by Our Children’s Trust against the United States government for failing to act to protect our climate for future generations and organized his peers in local frontline climate campaigns.
He currently sits on the diversity committee for the Nelson Institute to help advise and involve students of color in environmental activism, including action at the local level.
Nina Gualinga @ninagualinga is an indigenous woman and an eco-feminist who has spent most of her life working to protect the nature and communities of the Ecuadorian Amazon. At 18, she represented indigenous youth before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, helping to win a landmark case against the Ecuadorian government for allowing oil drilling on indigenous lands. She now advocates on the international stage for indigenous rights and a fossil fuel-free economy.
Autumn Peltier @autumn.peltier is an indigenous Canadian water activist and she advocates for clean drinking in indigenous communities across the Earth. she believes that advocating for the quality of water is an honor to water itself and the planet. Much of her knowledge about the pressing water crisis is due to her Aunt, Josephine Mandamin who has been an advocate for clean , sacred drinking water and conservation of the Great Lakes for a long time, passed down her line of work. Autumn is deeply connected to her culture and the traditional teachings she has received from the strong women in her family and community. Her environmentalism is a result of her culture in many ways. This past June, it was announced that Peltier was appointed the new Anishinabek Nation Chief Water Commissioner.Through this position, Peltier will help to raise awareness on water issues and share traditional knowledge.
Leah Namugerwa @namugerwaleah is an important voice in Uganda’s climate movement, and she’s asked the United Nations to ban plastic bags in her home country. At just the age of 14, Namugerwa has already witnessed the devastating impact that climate change has had in her community due to droughts and landslides that lead to famine. She also leaves school every Friday to strike for the climate.
Isra Hirsi @israhirsi is a Black, Muslim climate organizer and the co-founder of the U.S. Youth Climate Strike. She has organized locally and nationally for environmental justice with a focus on environmental racism and carving out space for young people of color within the movement.
Elvia Dagua, is a Kichwa indigenous woman leader from the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian. She became a leader at the age of 16 when she saw that women lived in violence and suffered. While she is empowering and supporting other indigenous women, she has been working on defending her territories so that oil, mining and hydroelectric companies do not come and destroy the communities.
Xiye Bastida @xiyebeara is a Mexican climate activist that saw her hometown in Mexico devastated by drought and floods before relocating to New York city. She embraces the Otomi indigenous belief that if you take care of the Earth, it will take care of you. Bastida organized a strike at her own Manhattan school, and 600 students walked out with her. Currently, she is mobilizing students and adults to join The Global Climate Strike with a huge youth-led climate walkout, followed by a week of hundreds of events in 117 countries, all aimed at pressuring global leaders to do something about the escalating climate crisis. Bastida is a member of the administration committee of the People’s Climate Movement, as well as the Sunrise Movement and Extinction Rebellion.
Isatou Ceesay also known as the queen of recycling is a African Environmentalist which wok began when she saw an unappealing buildup of plastic bags in her community of N’Jau. The plastic bags were harming the community’s livestock, providing a habitat for malaria-infected mosquitoes, and polluting the air when burned. She has been empowering women in The Gambia, Africa for over 17 years, to turn plastic waste into revenues such as: purses, shoes, and jewelry and thus take a more important role in society while ensuring their financial independence. Her plastic inventions were such a success that through her organization N’Jau Recycling and Income Generation Group she was able to employ women in the N’Jau community who could then develop financial independence Isatou is a thought leader in understanding that women’s development and environmental resilience are interconnected. While everyone in her community saw plastic waste as a permanent neighbor, she saw it as an opportunity for economic, social, and environmental improvements in her community.
Well Before Greta there was Severn, she was ignored and everyday there are indigenous people around the world who relentlessly fight for Mother Nature and are ignored.
Severn Cullis-Suzuki @severncullissuzuki is a Japanese Canadian environmental activist, speaker, television host and author. She has spoken around the world about environmental issues, urging listeners to define their values, act with the future in mind, and take individual responsibility. In 1992, at age 12, she raised money with members of ECO to attend the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, presented environmental issues from a youth perspective at the summit, where she was applauded for a speech to the delegates.
Maria Clemencia Herrera Nemerayem
Maria Clemencia Herrera Nemerayema is an Indigenous woman and part of the Women National Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon Colombia. Her work concentrates firstly, on the defense of the territory from outside threats and the conservation work of other women that is strengthened by traditional knowledge through their native tongue.
Kristy Drutman, @browngirl_green Is Climate justice activist and digital media strategist. Her work is centered around diversity and inclusion in the climate movement and how to use creative storytelling to bring a wider audience into environmental education and discourse. She uses my media platform to interview environmental leaders and advocates of color, as well as to educate and hold space for people to learn about environmental justice, climate change solutions, and debates about current events related to the climate crisis. She works to uplift and center the voices of people of color who are traditionally left out of the mainstream environmental discussion, in order to bring deeper awareness of the need for greater inclusion and representation in environmental movement building and decision making.
Smita Jairam @iquitwaste is a Malaysian activist who works as a Sustainability Consultant in Agriculture around South East Asia. She says that reducing waste is beyond what is immediately visible to us and we should question the structural systems that create waste. Waste is not just solid plastic: waste is any form of pollution; she explains that waste is a symptom of greater structural failures which we must address if we really want to minimize our negative environmental impacts. She spent a lot of her work on the ground with smallholders in rural Sabah, north eastern Borneo; teaching them how to reduce their environmental impacts through better farming practices (composting, biological pest control, maintain river buffers). With another group of small farmers in Perak, Malaysia she sets up a collaboration between them and a local trash to cash recycling initiative. With 30 farmers they avoided 150kg of landfill trash in 3 months.
Teju Adisa-Farrar @misstej is a Jamaican-American writer and geographer based in Oakland. She fights the climate crisis mainly through education, advocacy, and movement mapping / connecting the dots. This means she works with environmental and cultural organizations to radicalize how they do their work and mobilize to fight climate change through policy, the law, system change and resource redistribution. She also spends a lot of time helping individuals connect to their role in the movement and how their affected by it.