Some of the most passionate, social media-savvy, and outspoken voices on global issues are the teens of Gen-Z. These young activists are asking the hard questions, challenging the status quo, and are making a difference. From addressing the U.N, starting hashtag campaigns, and organising protests, Gen-Zers are paving the way to a better future. At Pela, we want to champion these change-makers! To get inspired and informed, here is a list of teen activists to follow right now!
1. Autumn Peltier
16-year-old, Autumn Peltier, is Chief Water Protector for the Anishnabek Nation. Autumn's clean water activism started at the age of eight by attending water ceremonies and learning from her Aunt, Josephine Mandamin, a well-known activist for clean water. Autumn gained international attention when she confronted Canadian Prime minister Justin Trudeau on his record on water protection and his support for pipelines. Her advocacy has led her to address the U.N in 2018 and 2019, nominated for an International Children's Peace Prize, and given the title "Water Warrior." Follow Autumn Peltier on Instagram.
2. Jerome Foster II
At the age of 19, Environmental Activist, Jerome Foster II, is the youngest member serving on the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council. Jerome has organised three of the largest climate marches in Washington, D.C. In high school and during his time at Harvard, Jerome held weekly climate strikes in front of the White House and Widener Library. In 2019, he founded OneMillionofUs, a non-profit youth voting and advocacy organisation to encourage young people to vote and care for issues such as climate change, gender, and racial equality. Keep updated on Jerome’s impressive career via his Twitter and Instagram.
3. Xiye Bastida
After experiencing extreme flooding in her hometown of San Pedro Tultepec, Mexico, Xiye Bastida, and her family moved to New York, where they faced the aftereffects of Hurricane Sandy. Realising she will never escape climate change, Xiye started an environmental club at her school where they protested and lobbied for climate change. Xiye led her high school in New York’s first major climate strike and welcomed Greta Thunberg upon her arrival from Europe by boat. Xiye’s activism was highlighted in a Teen Vogue documentary, We Rise, and honored with the Spirit of the UN award. Follow Xiye on Instagram and Twitter to learn more about their activism.
4. Ridhima Pandey
Ridhima Pandey is only 13 and has been named one of BBC’s 100 most empowering and influencing women of 2020 due to her activism. At the age of nine, Ridhima filed a lawsuit against the Indian Government claiming that they had not taken significant action against climate change that they had agreed to in the Paris Agreement. She has also filed a complaint to the U.N accusing various countries of not taking adequate action against climate change. Ridhama has called for a single-use plastic ban and has advocated for the clean-up of the Ganga River in India. Keep up with Ridhima on Instagram.
5. Isra Hirsi
Isra Hirsi is a climate and race activist and the daughter of Ilhan Omar. Isra’s climate activism began in high school after joining her school’s environmental club. In January 2019, she co-founded the U.S. Youth Climate Strike and coordinated hundreds of student-led strikes across the United States. Isra’s activism is rooted in her identity as a Black Muslim woman and has advocated for intersectionality and diversity within the climate justice movement. Irsa wrote in 2019, “This movement is not one person or one group. This movement is all of us and we need to make sure we value those who are disproportionately affected by this crisis. And allow those who are affected to lead.” Follow Isra on Instagram and Twitter.