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).