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By Erin Rutherford
9 November 2022

As the world witnesses the dramatic weather events unfolding around the world, there are increasingly more young people demanding action. Although in their short lives they have contributed little to the climate change crisis, the future belongs to them, and these activists are stepping up in their communities and asking for more to be done to create positive change.  

Vanessa: “We are reaching the tipping point. The climate crisis is here.” 

Climate activist from Uganda, Vanessa Nakate, was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2022.  

She drew inspiration from Greta Thunberg and in 2019 started protesting on the streets of Uganda, every week. As she continued to protest, she became a well-known face in the movement of young people “striking” for climate. 

Vanessa has since used her platform to advocate for climate justice for every community, especially those most affected by the impacts of climate change. 

The link between climate change and child hunger

Maria: “We protest for a systemic change and to end the root problem.” 

Maria, 19, has seen the impact of the climate crisis first-hand in her community in Mexico.  

She believes the issue of water scarcity cannot be seen in isolation but as part of the larger ecosystem.  

Advocating for climate justice in Mexico

Tahsin: “These people are living an uncertain life.” 

Bangladesh is a country particularly vulnerable to climate change. Tahsin, 22, is a climate activist who has been rallying the youth of his hometown to take action.  

He is working with over 400 children and youth to clean up public spaces, taking plastics to recycling centres for money to buy trees to plant in this community.

Young activist cleans up in Bangladesh

Russell: “We had to head down to the fire station to take shelter.” 

Russell, 17, is a reporter from Dominica. He has seen the devastation that climate change can cause – hurricane Maria, that tore roofs off homes and schools.  

Since then, he has been using photography to record the impact of climate change in his community.  

On the frontlines of climate change in Dominica

Mitzi: “This isn’t just about the weather and the environment. It’s about justice.” 

Mitzi is a climate justice activist from the Philippines. She has established an organisation called Youth Advocated for Climate Action Philippines, that sprang into action as the country was hit by back-to-back typhoons in 2020.  

They bought food, and water, but they also talked to the community. And they were angry. They wanted action. 

Campaigning for climate justice in the Philippines

Nkosi: "Trust me, I live climate change, my friends and family live it to."

Nkosi is a UNICEF climate activist from Zimbabwe. He has dedicated his voice to the voiceless, to call for immediate action.  

In this video, he walks us through the changes he has seen in his community due to climate change. 

On the frontlines of climate change in Zimbabwe

What does UNICEF do to support children affected by climate change? 

The climate crisis is a child rights crisis. It poses an unprecedented threat to the health, nutrition, education, development, survival, and future potential of all children. 

UNICEF works with partners at global and local levels to ensure that children can live in a safe and clean environment. UNICEF also uses its considerable global voice to call for urgent climate action, and to support the demands of children and young people. 

Floods in Burundi© UNICEF/UN0436094/Prinsloo

Climate Crisis

Find out more about how UNICEF Australia is protecting children in a changing climate.