Welcome to our second article from Curious Earth’s new ‘Stories on the Frontline’ series. 

If you weren’t already aware of this new initiative, Stories on the Frontline aims to focus and give voice to the Most Affected People and Areas (MAPA) of climate change.

Extractivism, ecocide and the effects of the climate and ecological crisis do not affect the global population equally. As the climate crisis escalates and we move closer to COP26 this November, countries in the Global North continue to offer green-washed promises and speculative solutions which allow them to continue business-as-usual whilst exploiting those who have contributed the least to the crisis.

 It is essential we pass the mic, and offer solidarity, strength and solutions to the earth defenders on the frontline around the world. 

At CE we’re aware of many important issues and concentrated efforts happening around the world. However, we’re also aware that some influential people and organisations making real change in these areas do not receive the same media coverage as the Elon Musks and Bill Gates of the Western world. Therefore, this week, we’re shining the light on eight influential people and organisations around the world who are making real change, who you might not know, but really really should! …especially because they’re super cool! 

AND THIS LIST IS ONLY THE BEGINNING… and we would love to hear from you and to share more names of people and organisations having a real impact on the frontline, particularly in regions and areas most affected by climate change. Share your names with us via Twitter, Instagram or email us directly.

  1. Christina Figueres –  @CFigueres a rather big dog in the climate world, Christina is a Costa Rican diplomat working in national, sub-national and multinational negotiations and agreements. She is probably best known for leading the Paris Agreement of 2015 – a landmark agreement in climate action history. She held the position of Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC from 2010-2016, alongside other positions of leadership. Now she is the founding partner of Global Optimism – inspiring and encouraging radical change around the world. 
  1. Ramon Navarro – @surfnavarro – another big dog, Chilean-born Ramon is often known for his achievements in surfing, being a big wave surfer in international competitions. However, he is also the man behind the protection of Punta de Lobos, an iconic surfing coastline in Chile at risk from development and environmental pollution. 

  1. Renata Koch Alvarenga – @renatakoch9one you really should keep on your radar, Renata is a young ecofeminist from the South of Brazil. She is the founder of EmpoderaClima – an educational platform about gender equality and climate action, with content available in Portuguese, Spanish, English, and French. Her work on sustainability has been presented around the world and has worked with (and continues to work with) the UN throughout her career. A one to watch….
  1. Ralph Regenvanu – @RRegenvanu this one is pretty unique… Ralph is a prominent politician within the small island state of Vanuatu in the South Pacific. A collection of 73 islands particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels resulting from climate change, Ralph is working with international organisations to bring large countries to account for the damage their actions are causing to his country. Regenvanu and his team are putting together a case to take to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to issue an “advisory opinion” – legal advice that can inform international law – that confirms industrialised nations are responsible for loss and damage in countries like Vanuatu. If successful, this would set a legal precedent to ensure adequate support is offered to those most affected by climate change. 
  1. Ellyanne Wanjiku – @aellyannecg – an example that anyone, at any age, can make a lasting impact. Ellyane was four years old when she began planting trees in her home country of Kenya, inspired by Wangari Maathai’s tree planting. She is now the Board Director and Founder of Children with Nature – the only organization in Africa, led by youth & children with a clear focus to harness the demographic dividend for the environment. Alongside this, she works with the UN and goes into schools around the continent bringing awareness and engagement with environmental action. 

  1. Nepalese Youth for Climate Action (NYCA) – @NYCA_Nepalthe NYCA is a coalition, led by youths, for youths, with the motto, “Caring for Climate, Caring for Ourselves”. They aim to protect the country and Nepalese people from the adverse effects of climate change by raising awareness, advocating policies and taking appropriate action. Projects include widespread tree planting and awareness programmes within schools and universities raising awareness of climate change and action to reduce its impact in the local area. 
  1. Autumn Peltier – @autumn.peltierAutumn is an Anishinaabe Indigenous clean water advocate from the Wiikwemkoong First Nation in Canada. She works to advocate for clean drinking water, as well as the sacredness of water. She is now the Chief Water Commissioner for the Anishinabek Nation, speaking openly about the issues of contaminated water on Indigenious reserves in Canada. She has also been nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize in multiple years for her activism – pretty amazing stuff! 
  1. Gro Intelligence – @SaraMenker @GroIntela super cool company run by a pretty amazing woman – Sara Menker. Growing up during the Ethiopian famine of the 1980s, Sara witnessed first hand the impact of disasters on basic needs such as food, and the need to prepare for ‘looming disasters’. This childhood experience, alongside her background in commodities trading, enabled her to set up Gro Intelligence – a company that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help confront two of the biggest challenges faced by humanity: food security and climate change. Her work has been described to be “creating the first real clean global data set on climate” – pretty neat! 

So there we have it, a starting list of people and organisations making change in regions most affected by climate change. 

Be Curious:

  • Read up on how these people and organisations are taking action in their local community and worldwide. 
  • Have we missed some important others? Share other names of people and organisations of importance with us and help to extend this list. 
  • These guys helpfully compiled an even bigger list! And these guys
  • As always, please get in touch if you have a story you’d like to share or know of areas and issues we should cover. Contact us directly, Twitter or Instagram and let us know! 
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