At the moment sixteen child petitioners are using the UN’s conventions on the rights of children to challenge over climate change. Greta Thunberg is the only name being reliably mentioned, but there are fifteen other young people in this amazing project.
Here’s one of the other named petitioners – Alexandria Villaseñor.
I have a great deal of respect for Greta Thunberg and a great deal of unease about how she’s represented in the media. She’s not a lone voice, she’s one among many – and if we draw attention to the many other young activists, we strengthen their position. One lone girl is easier for old white trolls to attack. The more visible activists there are, the more names we know, the harder a time the trolls will have attacking them.
There’s also a thing going on where white people with power in the media are getting interested because there’s a white person they can point at. One of the things I’ve learned from Twitter is that there are many young POC activists who have been working for years and who deserve just as much attention. People of Colour are already disproportionately affected by climate change and we need to help amplify their stories and resist media whitewashing.
If you love what Greta is doing, if you are inspired and excited by her, then don’t make it all about her. Find out who your local activists are and what they’re working on. Find out what the local issues are. Find other young activists and give them your support. One girl is not a movement. There is a whole movement out there around the world, and we can all help make it more visible.
Little Miss Flint (now 11) Mari Copeny has been campaigning about the Flint Water Crisis since she was 8.
Here she is getting an activism award this year.
Isra Hirsi is the co-founder of the U.S. Youth Climate Strike.
Autumn Peltier, 13-year-old water advocate, addresses the UN
If you’re already supporting a young activist please do add to the comments.