Showing Us the Way: 5 Youth Eco-Warriors We Can All Learn From

For decades, scientists and environmentalists have been battling it out with world leaders to find a way out of Earth’s climate crisis.

Just this month, heads of state, experts and leading corporate figures descended on Scotland for critical talks in the recently concluded COP26 summit.

Still, despite all the shiny news pledges to cut carbon emissions and clean up the Earth for our future generation, there’s been a movement of young people who’re done waiting for grown-ups to take action. 

Across the globe, youths are not only making their voices heard, but inspiring other folks, kids and adults alike, to take charge of our planet’s green future.

Sweden’s Greta Thunberg, who started Fridays for Future, may be the most prominent of these young eco-warriors. But there are many more.

As sustainable and green causes have always been close to our hearts at QNET, and in honour of World Children’s Day, we salute these five other young changemakers striving to protect Mother Earth and make our planet more liveable for us all.

Aadya Joshi, 18 

India

Making a difference for the environment doesn’t have to begin with major acts.

All Aadya Joshi wanted to do was clean the yard of the local police station in south Mumbai, and then replanted it with native trees and plants. 

Now, that little slice of green has become a thriving mini Eden for butterflies and even monkeys.

It also led her to start an initiative called The Right Green in 2018. Through it, she’s developed a database of over 2,000 indigenous plants and conducts youth workshops on the importance of preserving native plants and plant-insect relationships.

Her work has led Joshi to be honoured with the Children’s Climate Prize last year.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by The Stories of Change (@thestoriesofchange)

Autumn Peltier, 17

Canada

A clean water advocate, Autumn Peltier was only eight when she realised that many indigenous communities in Canada didn’t have access to clean drinking water.

Since then, she’s made it her mission to raise awareness about water contamination, even confronting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his clean-water policies in 2016, at the age of 12.

Instead of a rebuke, her zeal caused the premier to take note and promise to protect the water. It also earned her and her cause international attention.

Currently the Chief Water Commissioner of her people, the Anishinaabe, Autumn is as committed as ever to the cause.

She’s vowed to keep working to ensure clean water for people in her country and other communities around the world.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Autumn Peltier (@autumn.peltier)

José Adolfo Quisocala Condori, 16

Peru

José Adolfo Quisocala Condoria is a “banker” and has been since he was seven!

But while José’s bank does offer loans and other financial services, Bartselana isn’t your regular monetary institution.

What it is, however, is a green bank that allows thousands of poor school kids to earn money while depositing plastic and paper for recycling. 

Yet, despite its impact and José himself winning the Unicef’s Child & Youth Finance International Award, the young man wants to go to university to learn economics – to become a better climate advocate, of course!

Scarlett Westbrook, 17

United Kingdom

Scarlett Westbrook is not your regular teen climate activist.

This Birmingham lass, who obtained an A-level in government and politics — specialising in climate and education — at 13, is also one of the youngest policy writers in Europe.

Oh, she’s also a journalist and heads Teach the Future, a student-led campaign aiming to expand the British education system on climate change.

If that’s not amazing enough, the multi-award-winning Scarlett also plans to study medicine and become a humanitarian trauma surgeon, helping those who’ve suffered from climate disasters.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Scarlett 💕 (@scarletttwestbrook)

Yusuf Baluch, 17

Pakistan

A massive storm once ruined Yusuf Baluch’s home in Gwadar, Balochistan, in southwest Pakistan.

He’s also had to contend with floods and droughts while growing up, and a forest fire last year.

Yet, instead of wallowing in self-pity, these disasters have only spurred Yusuf to take action to spread awareness on climate change in his hometown.

Inspired by Thunberg, Yusuf is currently the organiser of the Pakistani chapter of Fridays for Future. 

He’s also been campaigning against large environmentally-destructive industrial projects, leading rallies, and attempting to make climate education part of the school syllabus.

And like Thunberg and many of his fellow youth eco-warriors, Yusuf’s message to the world is simple, “we aren’t fighting for ourselves, we’re also fighting for your children, for their future”.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Yusuf Baluch (@yusufbaluch)

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