Africa's inspiring climate activists
Activists in Africa are fighting hard against the effects of climate change, which is already severely affecting the continent while inspiring others to also champion environmental interests.
Donning a neon-green bicycle helmet
Environmental activist Andy Costa from Ivory Coast is also known as Africa's cycling ambassador. He uses a variety of techniques to champion the use of bikes, including wearing a bright green bike helmet at last year's COP27 — as seen here in a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. He's having some success, with the first cycle paths now to be built in Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast.
The royal art of planting trees
She's only 10, but Kenya's youngest climate activist, Karen Kimani, has already planted 10,000 trees, most recently in the company of King Charles III in the Karura Forest on the outskirts of the capital, Nairobi. She had earlier asked the king in a letter to accompany her — and he promptly came. Her role model is Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.
Nigerian environmental hero
Nigerian environmentalist, poet and human rights activist Nnimmo Bassey (seen here at COP27 in 2022) has been fighting for decades against oil extraction in the Niger Delta. In 2010, he received the Right Livelihood Award, known as the alternative Nobel Prize, for his commitment to the conservation of natural resources and was also one of Time magazine's Heroes of the Environment in 2009.
'Our house has long been on fire'
When droughts and floods began to devastate communities in her home country of Uganda, Vanessa Nakate protested for climate justice. Today, the 27-year-old founder of the Rise Up movement leads international campaigns to raise awareness of the effects of climate change. She has received several awards for her work. Her book "Our house has long been on fire" was published in 2021.
Agronomist Cecile Ndjebet from Cameroon has been committed to the fight for environmental protection for decades. She founded the organization Cameroon Ecology in 2000 and has since been involved in global initiatives advocating forest conservation, gender equality and land rights for women. She was awarded the Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity in 2023 in recognition of her climate defense efforts.
Stopping the sands of time
Another environmentalist who inspires young people in Africa is Aminetou Bilal. With her NGO Selfie Mbalite in Mauritania, she is committed to environmental education and combatting desertification. In 2018, she was selected as a participant in the Obama Leaders for Africa initiative. She also founded Agro Fish Farm with the aim of making fish farming more accessible for rural communities.
Putting ecosystems before profit
The founder of Fridays for Future in Senegal, Yero Sarr, opposes the extraction of natural gas in his home country. In 2022, he called on the German government to stop its plans to support a fossil fuel project there. The exploitation of natural gas deposits off the coast is damaging ecosystems, fishing, a sea turtle sanctuary and coral reefs, Sarr said.
Campaigns against global warming
The water crisis in Cape Town mobilized Ayakha Melithafa to campaign against global warming. In 2019, the South African filed a complaint with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child alongside other stakeholders. The 21-year-old is now a member of the African Climate Alliance and a sought-after public speaker. Here, she is seen addressing the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York.