By: Brandi Young
As someone who cares deeply about the environment, activism is something that I always try to implement in my daily life. I believe that everyone should practice activism in any way that they can. There are many types of activism and not every form is good for every person. For some, going out and leading climate strikes is how they demonstrate their activism, while others chose to educate people in their daily conversations, and some write articles and papers on environmentalism. As a young person, it can feel like we have little to no power. This is far from the truth. We are the future. It is up to us to get politicians to implement the changes we want. Below I have listed some young activists that inspire me to fight for the change I want to see in the world. It is never too early nor too late.
Autumn Peltier is the first activist on my list. She is a member of the Wikwemikong First Nation. She is known for her activism for clean water, specifically in Canada. Peltier brought up issues she and other members had with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s support of oil pipeline developments that would harm the water quality in the area. At only 13, she has been given the nickname “water warrior.” In addition, Peltier has attended the Assembly of First Nations, the United Nation Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit and the Children’s Climate Conference. She inspired the Assembly of First Nations to create the Niabi Odacidae Fund, which helps protect water sources and water quality for future generations, and has been nominated for the Children’s Peace Prize.
Xiye Bastida is a part of the Otomi-Toltec indigenous people of Mexico. While she was born and raised in Mexico, she is currently based out of New York City. Bastida is mainly known for starting a climate strike that involved over 600 students. She is heavily involved in city-wide climate strikes like those that took place all around the world in September. She is a member of the Sunrise Movement and Extinction Rebellion and is one of the lead organizers for Fridays for Future, which is a youth climate strike movement. She is also on the administration committee of the People’s Climate Movement.
Mari Copeny is the youngest activist on my list at 11 years old. Her environmental focus is on finding solutions to the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Because of her involvement, she is known as “Little Miss Flint”. In 2016, Copeny wrote a letter to former President Barack Obama to convince him to come to Flint and help with the water crisis. While she felt like this effort was a reach at first, to her excitement, Obama did respond and visit Flint. Since then, she has raised over $500,000 for the nonprofit organization Pack your Back. This organization helps fund the attainment of clean water and provides other resources needed to children in Flint, such as school supplies and other gifts like toys, and bikes.
These ladies have inspired me to create change. Their perseverance and dedication has enabled me to feel more confident in my own abilities to fight for what I believe in. It is easy for us to feel like our actions have no effect in the grand scheme of things. However, every drop of water creates many ripples, and these young girls, along with many others, have been a whole rainstorm in my point of view. My hope is that I too can become a part of that storm.
Cover photo courtesy of Pixabay