These are the women of colour activists to turn to for a fresh perspective on the climate crisis

Posted by
Leah Sinclair
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From Vanessa Nakate to Joycelyn Longdon, these climate change activists are raising awareness of climate issues and amplifying the voices of marginalised communities.

The climate crisis is something that undoubtedly could not be ignored this year.

In a year that has seen the world battle catastrophic wildfires across Europe and marine mucilage (aka sea snot) in Turkey to reports that restricting warming to close to 1.5°C or even 2°C will be beyond reach, it’s safe to say that the crisis is at an all-time high – and amid this is another issue that lingers beneath the surface.

While a number of activists are making their voices heard and highlighting the climate emergency, there is still a lack of awareness and representation toward marginalised communities who are also affected by this global issue – and this is further highlighted by the disproportionate lack of representation of the Global South at Cop26, the highly-anticipated summit which brings together world leaders to discuss climate change.

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Many activists have been unable to attend – whether through vaccine inequality or being unable to raise their own funds to take part – which further highlights the importance of hearing from disadvantaged groups on an issue that affects us all.

As COP26 is officially underway, we’ve listed some women of colour activists to follow to get a different perspective on what’s happening right now and who are on the front lines fighting for all voices to be heard.

Vanessa Nakate

Vanessa Nakate is a Ugandan climate justice activist who began her activism in 2018 after becoming concerned over the high temperatures of her country. The youth activist, who is about to publish her new book, A Bigger Picture: My Fight To Bring A New African Voice To The Climate Crisis, frequently discusses the importance of representation among marginalised communities who are on the front line of the climate crisis and uses her platform to champion voices and issues, particularly across Africa.

Mitzi Tan

With a focus on demanding actual action towards climate justice, Mitzi Tan uses her platform to make sure that voices from the Global South are heard and prioritises action to combat the climate crisis. The Philippines-based activist is also the convenor and international spokesperson of Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP), the Fridays For Future (FFF) of the Philippines.

Oladosu Adenike

Oladosu Adenike is a Nigerian climate change activist and is the founder of I Lead Climate – a pan-African movement that carries out grassroots-based climate action.

At COP26, Adenike will be highlighting concerns over the shrinking of Lake Chad, which she says “is not just affecting one country but many countries including Nigeria”.

Disha Ravi

While Disha Ravi is not attending COP26, she is a youth climate activist who is a prominent voice worth following. She is one of the founders of the Indian branch of the Fridays for Future climate strike and uses her platform to combat disinformation and highlight the various socio-economic factors which often worsen the climate crisis.

Joycelyn Longdon

Joycelyn Longdon is the founder of Climate of Colour, a platform that prides itself on making “climate conversations accessible and diverse for the climate curious”. From using her platform to break down climate science to deep-diving into the colonial history of the climate, Longdon’s platform is a handy resource for opening up your eyes to the realities of the climate crises, particularly for people of colour.

Mikaela Loach

Edinburgh-based activist Mikaela Loach has said she’s on a mission to “call for an end of ALL new oil, gas & coal - no exceptions” – and we have no doubt that’ll she fight to do just that.

Loach has used her platform to bring awareness to the climate crisis but also to acknowledge the importance of collective activism and the role each person plays as opposed to highlighting one or two singular figures – an important message when discussing an issue that requires a collective approach to combating it.

Dominique Palmer

UK-based climate activist Dominique Palmer is standing in solidarity with youth activists from communities around the world and uses her platform to acknowledge issues directly impacting those in the most affected areas and marginalised communities.

Image: Instagram


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Leah Sinclair

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