Teens Tackling Climate Crisis

The young child activists around the world advocating for climate change


© 2019 Marilyn Humphries

Photo Courtesy of Marilyn Humpries via Flickr

Caroline Hamlet, Writer

As we only have less than 11 years left to fix climate change before the damage is irreversible, more adolescents are becoming involved in politics especially involved in the climate crisis. The most famous, being Greta Thunberg, however, contrary to popular belief, she is not the only child activist. 

In South Africa, 11-year-old Yola Mgogwana, is fighting because she “sees the effects of climate change every single day, our weather is not normal- one day it’s hot and the next it’s raining heavily. It’s a huge problem for farmers, and mudslides wash away houses, leaving poor families without homes.” In 2018, Cape Town had experienced its worst drought ever where residents’ were restricted to 50 liters of water a day. The city was weeks away from the taps running out. In January Of last year, Yola began volunteering with the organization, Earthchild Project, which brings environmental studies into schools, and communities 

And later in March, she pleaded to government officials to take action before it was too late. 

In England, sister duo Amy and Emily Meek, are encouraging communities, schools and businesses to reduce their single-use plastics and adopt a “plastic clever” habit. While being homeschooled, the girls discovered the UNs 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and we’re horrified by the impact plastic had on the ocean and marine life. Inspired by this, they founded their campaign, Kids Against Plastic. In 2018, they spoke at their first Ted Talk, and addressed the importance of educating the youth on environmental issues, “Kids can have a really powerful voice when they find something they are passionate about – but the key is to be educated about it in the first place.” Fortunately, the girl’s voices were heard December 2019, when Damian Hinds, the British education secretary, announced that by 2022 all schools will be single plastic-free.

In Washington State, Dylan D’Haeze, 16, last fall he released his fourth documentary in the award-winning series “Kids Can Save The Planet.” His inspiration to take action, cams from a trip to the coast of California where he came across plastic trash littered all over the beach. D’Haeze came to the conclusion that he should make documentaries to spark change, “Film-making empowers me because I can visually show problems and solutions in a way that is much easier to comprehend.” D’Haeze has even sought guidance from famous environmental mentors like Dan Anderson from Cowspiracy and actor Ed Begley. 

Closer to the home front, Battlefield High school’s very own Environmental club is making huge strides to make our school eco-friendly, Caroline Petty-Kane, the co-vice president of the environmental club states, “Environmental club works on teaching students about actual issues facing the environment and what we can do at home for someone who wants to be eco-conscience.” She goes onto describe the club’s efforts to submit to the Green O*Net which would make Battlefield a certified green school. 

All in all, each environmental activist reveals that the key to solving the crisis the environment faces is education, and more importantly educating the youth. Their generation will be most affected by climate change thus far however, they also are one of the last hopes to reverse the damage done.