Leah Namugerwa is an 18-year-old climate activist from Uganda. At 13, Leah was impacted by the news reports of severe droughts in part of her country while other parts were suffering from heavy rainfall and landslides. She asked her father and her environmentalist uncle why this was happening. They started having conversations with her about climate change. It was then that Leah knew she needed to do something to help. In 2018, at the age of 14 Leah first heard of Greta Thunberg and her Fridays for Future climate strikes. With her father’s support she started her climate strikes in February 2019. She uses her social media to connect with other climate activists, inspire other teens to get involved, and encourage politicians and government officials to uphold the climate policies of the Paris accord.
In 2019, for her 15th birthday she decided to plant trees to help with the country’s deforestation problem instead of having a traditional party. That year she planted 200 trees. She created the project #Birthdaytrees to encourage others to plant trees on their birthdays and set a goal to plant 1 million trees. She planted 500 trees for her 16th birthday, 700 for her 17th and 900 for her 18th birthday.
“People are really taking on this green idea from all over the world, from the United States of America, Europe, Africa, Asia. I am getting requests from different people to take on this green idea. I have planted trees for ambassadors. Every time I am planting trees I get more and more people helping me to plant trees which shows that my activism is impacting the nation and all over the world”
Leah’s activism exemplifies how one person can make a difference in their community, country and worldwide. As she continues to organize climate strikes, tree plantings, beach clean-ups and plastic bag ban petitions, we acknowledge her courage and commitment to making a difference and holding her political leaders accountable for their climate promises.
Follow Leah on Twitter at @NamugerwaLeah
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