An inspiring group of female environmental enthusiasts from across the world have joined WaterAid’s new Future 15 list to raise awareness around the devastating impact climate change has on accessing water for communities around the world.

(L-R) Leah Namugerwa, Vanessa Nakate and Mikaela Loach
Image credit: WaterAid

The list of activists includes climate justice campaigner Vanessa Nakate, student Leah Namugerwa, university medical student and podcaster Mikaela Loach, among others, who have all come together to harness the power of digital platforms and political action to draw much-needed attention to the climate crisis and to elevate the voices of marginalised people.

A staggering 785 million – that’s one in 10 people – lack clean water close to home, and climate change is making the situation worse. Extreme weather such as prolonged droughts dries up water sources, while rising sea levels and flooding contaminates ill-protected water supplies, with catastrophic consequences for people’s health and livelihoods.

“A staggering 785 million – that’s one in 10 people – lack clean water close to home…”

While the climate crisis impacts all, women and girls are disproportionately affected as they are largely responsible for collecting water, often walking long distances keeping them from school or work.

A reliable source of clean water helps reduce the spread of disease, enabling people to go to school or earn a living. It also helps communities grow food, whatever the weather, and endure natural disasters.

That’s why WaterAid has launched the Future 15; to shine a light on some of the young activists from around the world who are pushing the climate conversation forward and to encourage people to donate to their Future on Tap appeal, which aims to raise £3 million to help transform lives with clean water in Ethiopia and around the world. The UK Government will match donations made by 4 February 2021, up to £2 million, making double the difference in climate-vulnerable communities.

“In my home country of Uganda, more than 21 million people don’t have clean water – that’s over half the population…”

Speaking about the impact that the issue has in her home country in 2019, 24-year-old Vanessa Nakate, began protesting to demand action on rising global temperatures. She said:

“In my home country of Uganda, more than 21 million people don’t have clean water – that’s over half the population. The climate crisis is interrelated with the water crisis, and the world needs to recognise the chaos the climate crisis is causing right now. On the African continent, there have been severe floods and droughts, all impacting communities’ access to clean water. Despite countries in the Global South contributing least to climate change, people there are suffering the most from it. We need urgent action to slow the rate of climate change and help people adapt and remain resilient to whatever the future holds.

“Solving these interrelated crises of climate and water, and therefore saving lives, will take a radical change in all our societies. We can all demand accountability from our leaders. Our voices are all powerful if we use them.”

To find out more visit the WaterAid Future on Tap Appeal 

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