Vanessa Nakate (24-year-old Ugandan activist) used Friday’s address to a crowd in Glasgow to stress the immediate consequences of climate change for her country and continent. She also tried to paint a picture of a better future and argue that the world can emerge from the crisis.
“We are in a crisis,” she said. “We are in a disaster that is happening every day.”
She also spoke of hope, suggesting that change can be achieved if activists continue to hold leaders responsible for causing harm to the climate.
“The farms can blossom again,” Ms. Nakate said. “The animals can rejoice, because there is water to drink. In once-dry lands, there is loud singing. The pain and suffering are gone.”
“We won’t have to fight for limited resources, because there will be enough for everyone,” she said.
Ms. Nakate is a prominent voice for young people calling for climate action, especially in Africa. She draws attention to the disproportionate effect of climate-induced disasters upon the people of a continent that contributes little towards the problem of global warming.
“Historically, Africa is responsible for only 3 percent of global emissions, but Africans are suffering some of the most brutal impacts fueled by the climate crisis,” she said.
She rose to prominenceAfter she was cropped from an Associated Press photo of five young climate activists attending the World Economic Forum in Davos last winter.
Ms. Nakate was furious at her omission in a tearful 10-minute video posted on Twitter in which she denounced the “racism” in the global environmental movement. Her book, “A Bigger Picture: My Fight to Bring a New African Voice to the Climate Crisis,” is out this month.
“We need to continue holding leaders accountable for their actions,” she told the protesters. “We cannot keep quiet about climate injustice.”