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WaterAid wants you to know about these 15 young environmental activists

The international charity is showcasing a group of Gen Zers, from actors and bloggers to documentary makers and authors, united in their fight to save our planet. 

2020 was a pretty tough year for our planet.

Not only was it the joint hottest on record, but during just 12 months we witnessed Australia face its worst-ever bushfire season, deadly floods and landslides that forced 12 million people from their homes in South Asia, massive levels of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, and the world’s second largest ice body in Greenland hit a tipping point that set it on an irreversible path to extinction (to name a few).

That’s not to say it was all bad, however.

Despite the obvious hardships caused by a pandemic that brought society to a grounding halt overnight, Covid-19 also provided the Earth with a much-needed period of recuperation, one that’s given us newfound hope for the future.

It also gave the pioneering climate justice activists across the globe – those who have been demanding action for some time now – an opportunity to finally have their voices heard. Restricted to the confines of our homes in government-imposed lockdowns, we’ve had little to do but to listen.

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From actors and bloggers to documentary makers and authors, these trailblazing Gen Zers are united in their determination to compel the world to act now to prevent permanent damage to our environment and ultimately safeguard our future.

And WaterAid, the international charity that’s led the fight against the global water crisis for over four decades now (reaching more than 27 million people with clean water to date), wants you to know their names.

Part of its Future on Tap appeal, which aims to help transform lives with clean water in climate-vulnerable communities in Ethiopia and around the world, the Future 15 list is setting out to prove the genuine value of working together.

At present, the global water crisis still one of the most pressing existential threats we face – 2 billion people currently lack access to safely managed water – and the climate crisis only making matters worse, with extreme weather events such as prolonged droughts, rising sea levels and intense floods further jeopardising existing water sources.

Understanding that we all have a role to play in affecting change, the charity is tapping the prowess of young people’s collective power. This is the inspiration behind the launch of Future 15: to shine a light on Gen Zers from around the world who are pushing the climate conversation forward and elevating marginalised voices through their activism.

Before the March 15 Youth Climate Strike, There Were Ecokids | Time

Though you can check out the full list here, these are three standouts.

Alice Aedy, a documentary photographer, filmmaker and climate and gender activist is striving to bring conversations around often-overlooked topics like environmental racism into mainstream climate discourse.

Bonnie Wright, an actor, became an advocate for the environment when she realised the possibilities for innovation and change around our toxic relationship with single-use plastics.

And Cel Spellman, who’s committed to addressing the outsized contribution of the meat industry to the climate crisis and encouraging reduced consumption.

Cel Spellman | WWF

‘We’re made to think that we can’t make change happen and we tell ourselves ‘what can I as an individual really do’ but united it’s been proven time and time again that people can make a difference if galvanised in the right way,’ he says. ‘I’m hopeful for the future because we have all the ingredients that we need to turn things around and make real change. The solutions and science is out there.’

Change has always started with one or two brave people coming together and standing up for what they believe in. Future 15 is emblematic of that. It’s incredibly promising to see the youth of today actually doing something about the climate emergency, taking significant steps in the right direction, and pressing for urgent systemic action.

Here’s hoping we see much more of this because, quite frankly, who wouldn’t want to make the world a better place for our generation and for generations to come?