Young Voices

YOUNG VOICES

by Alessia Pagano

Who is that 17 years old Swedish girl with signature braids and un undying passion for nature? Her name is Greta Thunberg, and she is the founder of Fridays For Future, the largest and more renowned movement by young climate activists ever since 2018.
We all know and love her, but she’s not the only teenager who fiercely became the face of an environmental cause. There are, in fact, many other lesser known activists that often go unnoticed by the bulk of the media.
These are just some examples:
Autumn Peltier, 17, is a clean water and indigenous communities campaigner. She delivered a speech before the United Nations General Assembly in September 2019, during which he re marked, “I said it once, and I say it again, we cannot eat money or drink oil”. The same year she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize and continues to be an activist.

Autumn Peltier, 17

In 2019, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez served as You th Director of “Guardians of the Earth”, a group of artists and activists that wish to band together in the face of the climate catastrophe. Xiuhtezcatl, who is 21 years old, is an indigenous climate activist and hip hop musician who has been speaking in ternationally since the age of
six.
Lesein Mutunkei, a 17 year old Kenyan, has turned his passion for football into a catalyst for environmental action. He plants a tree for every goal he scores. After learning about the devastating effects of pollution and deforestation at school, he became passionate about reforestation. Lesein has pushed his school and football team to be more environmentally conscious, and he plans to spread his #Trees4goals campaign throughout Africa.
Leah Namugerwa, a 17 year old Ugandan climate activist, is pressuring her government to solve the climate issue by establishing the #Banplasticug campaign to
combat plastic pollution. Looking at local news about protracted drought and Autumn Peltier,17 landslides in Uganda was the first time it became aw landslides in Uganda was the first time it became aware of the consequences of are of the consequences of climate change.
These names are still not enough to draw an exhaustive list of all teenagers who are dedicated in their fight for climate change. And they will never be. In fact, it would dedicated in their fight for climate change. And they will never be. In fact, it would be quite impossible to list them all.be quite impossible to list them all.
Millions of young people are making a case for their future by protesting, pressuring Millions of young people are making a case for their future by protesting, pressuring who’s in charge to listen to them and taking action themselves, whenever possible.
The one being raised is a generation of activists: never had there been so many voices speaking up whose owners haven’t even finished high school. Every time a strike is speaking up whose owners haven’t even finished high school. Every time a strike is organized, the streets are fuelled by a mixture of passion for nature and rage at the organized, the streets are fuelled by a mixture of passion for nature and rage at the thought of the incoming threat.thought of the incoming threat.

However, gen z’s effort to make the difference is not limited to a few important limited to a few important occasions, but is continuous, and this appears clear if we take a look at the numerous occasions, but is continuous, and this appears clear if we take a look at the numerous initiatives that are blooming all over the world and that provide active and passionate initiatives that are blooming all over the world and that provide active and passionate young people with an opportunity to carry on their misyoung people with an opportunity to carry on their mission.
In Italy, one of the most remarkable examples is Youth4planet.
The project, funded by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, has the goal to mobilize thousands of Social Policies, has the goal to mobilize thousands of young volunteers throughout the country, involving young volunteers throughout the country, involving them in activities aimed at them in activities aimed at addressing the major addressing the major environmental challenges affecting our planet: from environmental challenges affecting our planet: from the climate crisis to plastic pollution of the sea, rivers and lakes and the promotion of sustainable communities.

Natural Leaders is another Italian initiative that deserves a spot in the limelight: the in the limelight: the project is organized by Lipu and brings together young environmental volunteers project is organized by Lipu and brings together young environmental volunteers between the age of 15 and 30, to discuss among themselves environmental policies between the age of 15 and 30, to discuss among themselves environmental policies and proposals to put forward to experts and political authorities.and proposals to put forward to experts and political authorities.
In the case of Italy, a state that for most of its part is surrounded by the sea, the he case of Italy, a state that for most of its part is surrounded by the sea, the problems concerning water and costal pollution are now more relevant than ever. As a problems concerning water and costal pollution are now more relevant than ever. As a consequence, more than as an expression of its values, the latest generation is consequence, more than as an expression of its values, the latest generation is compelledcompelled to take action because of necessity, and because they will experience firstto take action because of necessity, and because they will experience first–hand all that is to come, for better or worse. And if the current trends are not reversed, hand all that is to come, for better or worse. And if the current trends are not reversed, without a shadow of a doubt, it is the worstwithout a shadow of a doubt, it is the worst–case scenario that is to be expected.case scenario that is to be expected.
So, no wonder that teenagers are reclaiming their place in the public scene and asking no wonder that teenagers are reclaiming their place in the public scene and asking to be seen, heard, and given space, because if not them, who? And if not now, when?to be seen, heard, and given space, because if not them, who? And if not now, when?

ALESSIA PAGANO

From 2014 to 2019 Alessia Pagano has attended the languages focused program of IIS “G.B. Vico – Umberto I – R. Gagliardi” in her hometown, Ragusa. There, she became fluent in English, French and Spanish. During her high school years she took part in various projects, such as “The Construction of Memory”, where the Italian students, in partnership with the ones of Sixth Form College in the UK, analysed and compared features of Italian fascism and English imperialism. She also volunteered for AISM, worked in the staff of “A Tutto Volume” – the local book festival – and was an intern for Confindustria Bulgaria as a part of her work-school experience.

She currently studies Diplomatic International Sciences at Alma Mater Studiorum of Bologna. Being passionate about the environment, during summer 2020 she participated in WWF’s missions to patrol sea turtles’ nests and supervise the hatchlings’ first moments of life.

More recently, she won an Erasmus+ scholarship which allowed her to attend the congress of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature that took place in Marseille in September 2021.

At the start of 2022 she will be attending classes in the European Studies curriculum at the Metropolitan University of Prague as a part of the Erasmus exchange program.

ALESSIA PAGANO

From 2014 to 2019 Alessia Pagano has attended the languages focused program of IIS “G.B. Vico – Umberto I – R. Gagliardi” in her hometown, Ragusa. There, she became fluent in English, French and Spanish. During her high school years she took part in various projects, such as “The Construction of Memory”, where the Italian students, in partnership with the ones of Sixth Form College in the UK, analysed and compared features of Italian fascism and English imperialism. She also volunteered for AISM, worked in the staff of “A Tutto Volume” – the local book festival – and was an intern for Confindustria Bulgaria as a part of her work-school experience.

She currently studies Diplomatic International Sciences at Alma Mater Studiorum of Bologna. Being passionate about the environment, during summer 2020 she participated in WWF’s missions to patrol sea turtles’ nests and supervise the hatchlings’ first moments of life.

More recently, she won an Erasmus+ scholarship which allowed her to attend the congress of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature that took place in Marseille in September 2021.

At the start of 2022 she will be attending classes in the European Studies curriculum at the Metropolitan University of Prague as a part of the Erasmus exchange program.

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