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Seven climate activists to follow right now

Photography By Supplied
Published 29.06.21

The climate crisis is the most polarising debate in the world, bogged down by political rhetoric and a lack of leadership.

Meet the international activists on the frontline whose powerful voices are cutting through the noise, holding us all to account for future generations.

AMELIA TELFORD

At 25, the Bundjalung and South Sea Islander woman has spearheaded numerous campaigns in the fight for climate justice and the necessity of First Nations Leadership in navigating Australia’s environmental future.

Telford is the National Director of Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network, a grassroots movement, supporting young Indigenous Australians in the fight against unsustainable national practices and a move toward renewable energy. In 2014, Telford was awarded the National NAIDOC Youth of the Year, Bob Brown’s Young Environmentalist of the Year in 2015 and Australian Geographic Young Conservationist of the Year in 2015.

Favourite quote: “My earliest memories are all to do with our parents instilling values in us as kids around what it means to look after one another and look after the land.” (via SBS, 2020).

MIKAELA LOACH

Mikaela Loach is an Edinburgh-based podcast host and content creator, who leverages her platform on the Yikes Podcast to discuss climate change, anti-racism, veganism and ethical fashion. Currently a medical student, Loach is also a freelance writer, publishing her work across the BBC, ELLE, Refinery 29 and Eco-Age. She regularly posts resources on plastic-free and zero waste living.

Favourite quote: “Any white or non-black influencers or celebs you follow who have stayed silent on anti-racism are doing so because brand deals mean more to them than black lives. Not talking about anti-racism because you don’t want to jeopardise your power upholds white supremacy. It is violence.”

KRISTY DRUTMAN

Kristy Drutman is the Filipina American activist behind the Brown Girl Green platform, commenting on the intersectionality of diversity and inclusion within the media and environmental movement. As an assistant lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, Drutman covers a spectrum of global environmental issues, sharing colourful graphics with succinct facts on issues from ocean health to the relationship between poverty and plastic.

Favourite quote: “Nature may be ‘colour blind’ but people are not.”

NATALIE SHEHATA

The powerhouse Sydney-based Natalia Shehata is an intersectional, environmentalist’s ultimate multi-hyphenate. Between working as a stylist centred on sustainable fashion, vintage and recycled clothing, she is also the creative director and founder of Tommie Magazine, a “Plfrm For Conscious Womxn” and a leading voice in Australia’s conversations around inclusivity and representation in fashion. Shehata uses her online community and events to empower women and particularly those marginalised or part of a minority group.

Favourite Quote: “Each day I wake up and I want to make change – long-lasting impactful change – for people and the planet.” (Eco Warrior Princess, 2019)

NINA GBOR

Melbourne-based eco-fashion commentator Nina Gbor delivers her sharp criticism and analysis of the fashion industry on her blog Eco Styles. In addition to her social media and online platforms, Gbor works as a public speaker, RMIT University tutor and founder of the event dedicated to recycled fashion, Clothes Swap & Style. Gbor has previously called upon workplaces, education facilities, corporate boards and mainstream media networks to examine the diversity within them.

Favourite quote: “Anyone who reads my content knows that I’ve never been into trends, fashion or otherwise. This movement is not a trend.”

ISAIAS HERNANDEZ

Creator of the Queer Brown Vegan platform, Isaias Hernandez’ self-description is simple: “An Environmental Educator who just so happens to be vegan & zero-waste.” Coupling slick graphics and explainers on his social media platforms and blog, Hernandez explores ways to live a zero-waste life, as well as veganism and the representation of the LGBTQ+ community in the climate movement. Hernandez previously worked as the co-creator of @alluviamag, a platform for creative BIPOC voices in the environmental movement.

Favourite quote: “Humanize us; do not commodify us.”

XIYE BASTIDA

The New York-based climate justice activist has been vocal about the need to diversify voices in the climate change conversation. Previously mobilising a crowd of 315,000 for climate change protests in her hometown, Bastida was invited to attend the UN Youth Climate Summit. Between protesting for the planet and studying at the University of Pennsylvania, she is also a feature essayist in the upcoming book All We Can Save, a collection of prose and verse from female climate leaders.

Favourite quote: “The fight for climate justice is a fight against the many systems that affect vulnerable communities which are primarily Black, Brown, and Indigenous.”

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