Vanessa Nakate - Ugandan Climate Activist
Vanessa Nakate grew up in Kampala, Uganda. In 2019, she was inspired by Greta Thunberg and the Youth Climate Strike movement to initiate an activism movement in Uganda. For months, she protested alone in front of the Parliament of Uganda. Gradually she gained support from other youth, with a particular focus on the destruction of the Congo rainforest. Vanessa then created the Youth for Future Africa and Rise Up Movement.
In January 2020, she joined other international youth climate activists at the World Economic Forum in Davos, calling for the private sector and governments to cease subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. She and the other activists later participated in a climate march on the final day of the Forum.
"My country heavily depends on agriculture, therefore most of the people depend on agriculture. So, if our farms are destroyed by floods, if the farms are destroyed by droughts and crop production is less, that means that the price of food is going to go high. So it will only be the most privileged who will be able to buy food. And they are the biggest emitters in our countries, the ones who will be able to survive the crisis of food, whereas most of the people who live in villages and rural communities, they have trouble getting food because of the high prices. And this leads to starvation and death. Literally, in my county, a lack of rain means starvation and death for the less privileged" (Vanessa Nakate, 2019).
In a recent interview with Angelina Jolie for the New York Times, Vanessa addressed the need for racial equality in order to rectify other inequalities in the world: "If we don’t address the issue of racial justice, we won’t be able to get climate justice. So every climate activist should be advocating for racial justice because if your climate justice does not involve the most affected communities, then it is not justice at all."
Vanessa has now graduated with a degree in Business Administration in Marketing, Makerere University Business School.
Find out more on Wikipedia.
Story by Cécile Girardin