Somerset teenager's bid to amplify young BAME eco-activist voices

By Jasmine Ketibuah-Foley
Broadcast Journalist

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Mya-Rose Craig said it has been "inspiring" meeting so many young activists like herself

An activist is encouraging teenagers from ethnic minority backgrounds to take up climate activism by showcasing other people who are paving the way.

Mya Rose-Craig from Chew Valley, Somerset has profiled 30 young activists in her book We Have a Dream.

"Many of the communities they are from are disproportionately affected by climate change, yet often aren't heard in global conversations," she said.

A recent study showed climate debates in Bristol also lacked diverse voices.

'Urgent change'

Miss Craig also known as Birdgirl for her interest in ornithology and environmental issues said it was "amazing" to find out many of the activists she spoke to for the project had been campaigning since they were eight or nine years old.

"The time has come to listen to a generation of young people demanding urgent change for the world they will inherit," she added.

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30 environmental activists feature in the book

One of those featured in the book Scarlett Westbrook, 17, said the movement was "overwhelmingly privileged" and white.

"It's important children of colour see themselves in the book, fighting for the environment," said Miss Westbrook.

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Miss Westbrook said the media's narrative on young environmental activists "needs to change"

The 17-year-old who writes about environmental issues for the Independent, added that there was a "problem" with how the media chooses to put people forward.

"There's a racist trope that people of colour are uneducated.

"We don't fit in with the intellectual middle class white children image in the movement.

"This book is important. Most diaspora children have lived experiences of climate crisis and disasters either through their families or ancestors."

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Ms Fruen said young activists have the "passion and energy" to build a better future

Climate activist Brianna Fruen is from the island of Samoa in the South Pacific and has been campaigning to protect her home from rising sea levels.

She visits schools to hold talks in Samoa to raise awareness of the issue and is part of the 350 Pacific group.

"We must build a global family. We must value everyone the same, value everyone's home the same," she said.

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Tyrone said seeing more young BAME activists in the movement gives him hope for the future

Member of the Young Greens, the student branch of the Green Party, Tyrone Scott is from Hackney, London.

The 30-year-old said it was important to show the world that the fight for the environment is "our fight".

"Inspired young generations are out there at the forefront of the campaign.

"This book is important to me because it gives a message of hope that the future is bright.

"That these young people will be our leaders," he said.

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