Vanessa Nakate and Her March for The Earth

“Climate change is more than statistics, it’s more than data points. It’s more than net-zero targets. It’s about the people, it’s about the people who are being impacted right now,” Vanessa Nakate to the United Nations 

These words and several iterations of it have been repeated by Vanessa Nakate in her bid to mitigate the ongoing climate crisis, especially for Africans. 

In her recent Teen Vogue article, Vanessa states, ‘Africa is responsible for less than 4% of historic carbon emissions, and yet so many Africans are among the worst affected by their consequences.’

Vanessa Nakate is currently one of the young leaders in the global fight against climate change. She is a 26-year-old Ugandan who started speaking up for the earth in 2018 in her home city of Kampala, with her siblings. 

Her work in climate change is majorly focused on Africa because, as she says, she has visited rural communities in her country Uganda that have to walk several kilometers to get water. She has seen in person the effect of droughts in communities that are already impoverished, communities that grow their food by themselves experiencing their food source growing increasingly drier. 

She has also spoken about the several challenges she has faced as an environmental activist in this part of the world. She cites the politics of taking massive and statement-making strikes as a major issue because of the political climate in the Global south. She has also mentioned economic factors as this eliminates the privilege of switching to more environmentally friendly options for disadvantaged communities.

Vanessa experienced black exclusion and erasure firsthand in the climate movement when she was cropped out of a photo she took with white activists at the World Economic Forum by American news agency, Associated Press. This caused outrage online with a Twitter user stating, ‘It might surprise some, but black and brown communities are affected by the climate emergency and are also helping to find solutions too.’

According to a 2021 report by The State of the Climate in Africa, water stress is estimated to affect 250 million people in Africa, displacing 700 million by the year 2030.

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