Vanessa Nakate

Picture of Giraffe Vanessa Nakate

Ugandan Vanessa Nakate has an advanced degree in marketing and is using it not to climb a lucrative corporate ladder but to save her nation, the continent, and the world from the climate crisis. This is not what Ugandan tradition demands of a young woman.

Nevertheless, she protested outside Uganda’s parliament, demanding legislators address the issue. She was joined by other young people who became part of Youth For Africa’s Future, and the Rise Up Movement, two action groups she founded. She’s published a demand that the World Economic Forum stop subsidizing fossil fuels. She’s spoken at rallies and conferences, and has written a book, A Bigger Picture: My Fight to Bring a New African Voice to the Climate Crisis, demanding that rich countries and corporations that emit toxins assist poor nations whose environments are damaged by those emissions.

Her Green Schools Project is working to get Uganda’s schools to convert to solar energy, and she’s pointed out the dire effects of the climate crisis on women and girls, who are often responsible for providing food or collecting water or firewood for their families.

“Adapting to climate change is no longer enough,” says Nakate. “You cannot adapt to starvation. You cannot adapt to extinction.” To ward off starvation and extinction for millions, she will continue to be a whirlwind of words and actions, rallying others to save life on Earth.