Vanessa Nakate, a 24-year-old Ugandan activist dedicated to promoting climate justice for communities at risk, is playing a role in popularising developing countries “demands through her simple yet powerful slogan:” We can’t eat coal.”

This maxim is designed to appeal to the apparently insatiable faith of governments and businessmen in the very fossil fuels that science says require to become obsolete to stave off climate catastrophe.

“There are so many things I would love to do, but I think it would be stopping investments in fossil fuels projects, because we cannot eat coal, we cannot drink oil, we cannot breathe gas,” Nakate told AFP on the sidelines of an international climate summit in Milan this week.

She will also call for special funding mechanisms for climate loss and harm, which is likely to be a key debate at last year ‘s UN climate summit in Glasgow.

Only a handful of wealthy emitters emit the vast majority of GHG carbon emissions.

Conversely, it is vulnerable communities in developing countries – especially in Africa and South-East Asia – that are already facing extreme floods, droughts, and storms brought about by global warming.

Nakate, a graduate in business administration, has taken matters into her own hands and has set up the Vash Green Schools project with her campaign, Stand Up, in order to install solar panels and green stoves in rural schools that replace traditional but planetary-hostile wood ovens.

Nakate says she has been “blown away” by the attention that she gets at climate summits (after Greta Thunberg at the event in Milan, she was the second attraction of the year).

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Climate justice

Climate justice is a term used to frame climate change as an ethical and political issue, rather than one that is purely environmental or physical in nature. (wikipedia)


Vanessa Nakate

Vanessa Nakate is a Ugandan climate justice activist. She grew up in Kampala and started her activism in December 2018 after becoming concerned about the unusually high temperatures in her country. (wikipedia)


Greta Thunberg

Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg ; born 3 January 2003) is a Swedish environmental activist who is known for challenging world leaders to take immediate action for climate change mitigation. (wikipedia)


Greta Thunberg: A Year to Change the World

Greta Thunberg: A Year to Change the World is a three-part documentary series following the climate change activist Greta Thunberg from August 2019 to late 2020, when she was aged 16–17. (wikipedia)