I have started the change I want: advocating for climate change in Zimbabwe

Nkosi Nyathi

Each day millions of young people live to face the harsh climate reality. Has anyone ever imagined the impact of this changing climate in thirty years’ time? What the temperatures will be like? Above all, what the lives of young people cutting across all cultural diversities will be like? What keeps me on the frontline for climate justice is the notion that I don't only represent my nation but my entire generation because climate justice concerns our future. We don’t need torture. We deserve to live happily as well, but to attain that healthy, happy living we will not stop speaking out for what we want and what we deserve, to bring about a child-safe and sustainable future. 

I have dedicated my voice as a voice of the voiceless, to call for immediate action and there is no better time for acting than now. Take a closer look at the unpredictability and uncertainty of weather patterns, the rise in sea levels, frequent cyclones, hot temperatures and heat waves - honestly, how am I expected to attend school under a scorching sun?

I say: ‘Trust me, I live climate change, my friends and family live it too.’

Since I was ten, I have always strived to lift up my voice just to get even a single moment’s attention from a decision maker. I say: ‘Trust me, I live climate change, my friends and family live it too.’ ‘Someone do something!’ ‘Young people have to be included in crucial decision making.’ ‘Honestly, how do you expect me to cope up and live up to the standards which were made in my absence?’. Above all I am the one being affected by the changing climate. We are here, we are smart, and we have the solutions. I am young but climate change has put more on my plate, more is expected out of me. 

If I was given just two minutes to reimagine a better future, I would imagine a world where every child is included in crucial decision making. I would reimagine a world where every household uses clean energy. But the painful part of all this is that this might just be imaginations which will never come to pass. If there is a fear in me, it’s that I have dedicated my time to advocate for change and yet as I grow older each year nothing convincing gives me hope that the future is green. Someone must do something and that someone is none other than you, I have started the change I want, you can also do something to save the future and there is no better time for doing that than now.

UNICEF teamed up with Fridays for Future to highlight young activists on the front lines of climate change, like Nkosi. Discover other climate activists and stories on how climate change is affecting young people today and the need for the world to keep to its commitment to limit warming to 1.5 degrees.