With climate experts predicting that the environment may suffer a drastic decline over the next few decades, it is no surprise that many younger people are getting involved. These youth activists are fighting fiercely for their future, generating both a lot of interest and controversy in the topic of climate change. One of the most promising youth activists is Licypriya Kangujam of India.
At only eight years old, Kangujam has been making waves for her enthusiastic activism in the remote northeastern part of India. With India ranking as the fifth most weather affected country, it is one of the regions most likely to be affected by climate change. Things like heavy monsoon floods, cyclones, and the longest ever heatwave in recorded history have encouraged Kangujam to speak out.
She has dropped out of school for a year to campaign, with plans to protest outside of India’s parliament every week until they pass legislation to halt activities that cause climate change. To stop development plans that would cut down over 8,500 trees, she recently climbed on top of an excavator. Kangujam has also been heavily involved in the auto industry, where she will be helping Anand Mahindra launch his new electric car line.
Part of what makes Kangujam so noteworthy is her individuality and confidence. Recently, she got into a clash with journalists for calling her the “Greta Thunberg of India.” As Kangujam explained, this keeps people from actually hearing about her own story and instead ascribes all of her accomplishments to Greta Thunberg. Though many youth activists do admire Thunberg and see her as a source of inspiration, they want people to realize that there are actually people all over the world working to stop climate change.
In a time when climate change activism is mostly seen as a white activity, Kangujam feels it is important for people to become more aware of activists of color. This provides more diversity and encourages other youths who may not fit the stereotypical climate change activist profile to step forward. With minority populations being most vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change, having more activists from these groups step forward can encourage the people most at risk to speak up for themselves.