5 Teens Making a difference
As teens, we are encouraged to find something we love and would like to do for the rest of our lives. But, most of the things we are told will make a difference can only happen when we are adults. However, some teens choose not to wait, and are making a difference for something they care about right now!
1. Autumn Peltier, 15
“We can’t eat money or drink oil”
Autumn Peltier is a member of the Wiikwemkoong First Nation, near Ontario Canada and an internationally recognized advocate for clean water. She has been speaking internationally about indigenous and water rights since 8 years old when she became a “Water Warrior”. In 2018, at the age of thirteen, Peltier addressed world leaders at the UN General Assembly on the issue of water protection.
2. Ayakha Melithafa, 17
“People who are older aren’t paying as much attention because they will not be as affected. They don’t take us children seriously, but we want to show them we are serious,”
Ayakha Melithafa was one of 16 teens to file a complaint to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child for failing to adequately address climate change. She is from a town near Cape Town, South Africa and is an internationally recognized climate change activist.
3. Melati Wijsen, 19 and Isabel Wijsen, 17
These sisters created “Bye Bye Plastic Bags” to organize petitions, awareness-raising campaigns and massive beach clean-ups. Since then, the Wijsen sisters were part of TIME Magazine’s Most Influential Teens and CNN’s Young Wonders in 2018. Their efforts in Bali have been internationally recognized, and eventually contributed to Bali’s ban of single-use plastics.
4. Salvador Gómez-Colón, 17
When Hurricane María devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, Salvador’s community might have had to have no power for at least a year. But instead, he created the “Light and Hope for Puerto Rico” campaign to distribute solar-powered lamps, hand-powered washing machines and other supplies to more than 3,100 families on the island. Later, he launched “Light and Hope for the Bahamas” humanitarian initiative. Salvador was named one of TIME Magazine’s 30 Most Influential Teens of 2017 and received the President’s Environmental Youth Award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Diana Award for social humanitarian work in 2019.
5. David Wicker, 15
David is a climate justice activist with Fridays For Future Italia. He is from northern Italy and has been striking weekly for over a year. He is involved internationally with the purpose of asking governments all around the world to place the Climate Change issue as their top priority in their agendas and to start respecting the regulation of international agreements and treaties.