Not Just Greta Any More: Youth climate activists around the world

Tara Abhasakun

12 Apr 2024

The Young across the globe are leading the fight to save our planet.

Greta Thunberg has become an iconic youth climate activist with global recognition. Known for her bluntness and bravery, Thunberg captured the world’s attention when she organised school walkouts for climate change in 2018. The 21-year-old was arrested at a climate protest at the Hague on Saturday.

But Thunberg isn’t the only youth activist tackling climate change. Many young people in all corners of the globe are fighting for the environment. Below are just six working prominently for change.

Irsa Hirsi

Irsa Hirsi is a 21-year-old climate and racial justice activist in the US. In 2019, while still in high school Irsa co-founded the US Youth Climate Strike, galvanising hundreds of strikes across the country from March 15th to May 3rd that year.


Originally from Minneapolis,  Hirsi currently attends Barnard College of Columbia University in New York City. She is inspired by her identity as a black Muslim woman, and uses her voice to support diversity within the climate justice movement, as well as within her daily life.

Xiye Bastida

Xiye Bastida is a 21-year old Mexican climate activist who hails from the Otomi-Toltec Indigenous community in the country’s central region. Bastida’s family moved to New York City in 2015. There, she became an active member of the climate movement. 


Bastida attended her first United Nations climate conference in 2017, using her knowledge as an indigenous person in decision-making spaces. She won the Spirit of the UN award in 2018 and later went on to start a climate strike movement Fridays for Future NYC. Bastida enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania in 2020.


Leah Namugerwa

Leah Namugerwa is a 20 year old climate activist in Uganda. Namugerwa supported the school climate strikes in 2019 along with Fridays for Future Uganda organisers. She spoke at the World Urban Forum in 2020, and was a youth delegate at COP25.


Namugerwa has also made a name for herself by leading tree-planting campaigns in Uganda. On her 15th birthday, she celebrated by planting 200 trees, rather than hold a party. 


Namugerwa’s goal is to push Uganda’s government to enforce the Paris 21 Agreement.


Mitzi Jonelle Tan

Mitzi Jonelle Tan is a climate justice activist in the Philippines. She is the convenor and international spokesperson of Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP), the Fridays For Future of the Philippines.


The Philippines is a dangerous place to be a climate activist. There have been cases in which activists have gone missing, and authorities have not provided answers about their whereabouts. Despite this, Tan continues to fight the good fight.


Holly Gillibrand

Holly Gillibrand is a 19-year-old climate activist in Scotland. Gillibrand began participating in climate strikes in 2018 when she was just 13. She then became an ambassador of Fridays for Future Scottland.


Gillibrand is a proponent of rewilding nature. She believes that humans should view nature as something they are a part of, and not as a thing to exploit. Believing that rewilding is necessary to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss.

Aminta Permpoonwiwat

Aminta Permpoonwiwat is a UN climate activist in Thailand. She began her journey fighting climate change while researching the topic for her school's debate team. She later founded the Youth Mentorship Program (YMP), which sends high school student volunteers to teach children in rural areas across Thailand about sustainability.


Aminta was selected to be one of the two Thai delegates from 81 applicants from the first round and 15 eligible interviewees to join the ECOSOC Youth Forum of the year 2023 at United Nations Headquarters, in New York. She believes that youth have more power than many believe, and that knowledge is meant to be actively imparted.