The winds of change: Inspirational young people making a difference

The winds of change: Inspirational young people making a difference

Here at Lucy and Yak, we're always looking to learn. We are aiming to make eco-friendly clothes in an ethical and sustainable way. We know we don't always get it right but we are always looking for ways to improve and for people to inspire us. Our recent Sunday Debate on the Extinction Rebellion inspired this blogpost. 

There have been some incredibly inspirational young people hitting the headlines recently. We wanted to recognise the fantastic work these amazing young people are doing and to keep our eyes open so that we all can benefit from their example.

Greta Thunberg

Recently acknowledged as one of the most influential people of 2019, Greta looked at what's going on in the natural world and saw clearly that not only was the situation pretty dire but that she could do something to help.

I wonder if it seemed like a little thing to her at the beginning. It's surely become a big thing now! Greta started with her Fridays for Future protests; she gave up a day of her own education in order to protest about climate change. At first she sat alone but still she sat there, every Friday. Her most recent video provides an update on the Fridays for Future protests. And here is her inspiring Ted talk. 

Her story is fascinating. Initially, her parents were unconvinced but Greta developed her powers of argument and persuasion through talking to them about her own research into climate change. She has gone on to persuade and explain with clarity, precision, and commitment. And she's really made a difference.

There are a couple more things about Greta Thunberg that make what she has achieved all the more inspiring. Greta has an Autism Spectrum Disorder and has previously struggled with selective mutism. Selective mutism is a phobia of talking. Yet despite this phobia, Greta has overcome her fears in order to share her message on the biggest of stages. What an incredible person! Nothing was going to hold her back. She has inspired millions! In our UK Brexit bubble, we might have thought Brexit would be the big issue in the European Elections, but it's not. Actually, the issue of the day is climate change and that has an awful lot to do with Greta Thunberg's work. That brings us on to another really inspiring person who's making waves in the political world.

Daze Aghaji

Photo by Talia Woodin 

This is a name to look out for. Daze is 19 and stood for election in the European elections as one of the Climate Emergency Independents. One of the things I find so inspiring about Daze is that like Greta she's clearly in this for the long haul.

At 19 she didn't expect to be elected this time around but she's determined to keep working in order to make the changes that are needed. She's recognised the environmental challenges that are facing the planet and she's going to do what she can to make a difference. And she wants to inspire her generation. She says, “This generation can take leadership and make this change happen”. Raised in London she has a love of nature and the natural world which has made her want to do something about the devastation of the environment. She took part in the school climate strikes and intends to keep on working to really make a difference.

One of the things that is striking when you read about Greta and Daze is their commitment to the long term. Despite their young age, they know this is work that will take a lifetime and they are ready to take that on. I've sometimes wondered if our short 4-year election cycle results in leaders who are too focused on the short term, and on issues that will impact on re-election. That can cloud out a long term vision which means that long term issues like climate change can be overlooked or ignored for too long.

Here's Daze explaining her mission in her own words.

Claudia McDowell

My final choice, for now at least, is Claudia McDowell. Claudia is 21 and an actress. She also stood in the European Elections and she has some really smart things to say about why. She says “I have no qualifications to be a politician in the way we usually understand it, but I have a qualification as far as I live on this planet and I want to fight for its future”. I love this quote! It's too easy to be discouraged because you don't have the right “qualifications” or the right “look”; you're not the right gender or age, you're not an alumnus of Eton. But those aren't the qualifications that matter. Claudia is showing that what counts is living on this planet and caring what happens to it. Listen to what she has to say here.

Inspired to change

Reading about these incredible young people suddenly makes me feel a whole lot more positive about politics and the direction that the next generation want to head in. We really want to be part of that positive change too. That's why we say we should buy well and buy less.

Take our new hemp dungarees as an example. The price tag is higher than you'd pay in Primark but there's a good reason. These are made ethically in UK and in a sustainable way. They use hemp, which is just about the most eco-friendly fabric you can find and they will last and last. 

We'll be keeping an eye on these fantastic young people so watch out on the blog for more updates about everything to do with sustainable, eco-friendly fashion. Drop us a line if you have any questions or suggestions for our regular online debate on Instagram and Facebook and sign up for our newsletter so we can keep in touch!

Here are a few more links and resources to just a few of the inspiring sites you can check out around climate change.

Extinction Rebellion Kids

The Climate Coalition

Fridays for Future

Living in the Future