Nakabuye Hilda Flavia, 23 year old Ugandan climate change and environmental rights activist, founder and organiser of Fridays For Future Uganda. She loves nature and therefore she has decided to fight for her only home “Earth” at any cost:
I am a victim of this whole climate crisis and I am not afraid to say so. Climate injustice forced me to risk my education and fight for everyone, I rather fail my examinations than fail my generation. Therefore, I am on a mission to fight for our future.”
Atlas: What was your inspiration to start climate striking? Do you face the effects of climate crisis in your daily life where you live?
Hilda: As a child, I grew up visiting my village in Masaka district with a good environment surrounded with forests, swamps, plantations and plenty of water from lakes and rivers. As time went by, the weather started changing, heavy rainfalls, strong winds, rising temperatures, floods, among other things, weather patterns started being unpredictable, seasons changed. My family experienced some of these effects as well to the extent that we lost our plantation/gardens completely and livestock due to the rising temperatures that dried out the streams where we used to fetch water for the animals.
All these effects happened without us knowing about climate change. Our life style changed because we lost our income source which was the plantation, I had to miss school for some months because my Dad couldn’t afford to pay for my tuition. I wouldn’t wish this to happen to anyone else and therefore, when I got to know about climate change in 2017, I decided to dedicate my life to make a difference. When I saw Greta striking out of her parliament, she inspired me to start the strikes as well.
‘Being a girl is challenging in my community’
How do you mobilize and what kind of reaction do you get about your activism?
Since January 2019, I and now together with my friends, have been striking. We move to different schools, universities, communities and different groups creating Climate awareness.
I started a lake shore clean up Activity on Lake Victoria which is the second largest fresh water body in the world that is aimed at Ending plastic pollution and preserving water bodies.
I get both positive and negative reactions towards my Activism. Being a girl child, it’s very hard to come out in my community and demand /fight for our rights because girls are seen as an inferior gender and it’s not so often that youth come out to demand elders to do something.
What are your demands from your government and what is the “climate awareness” situation in your country now?
Briefly, we demand government to declare a climate emergency in the country so that everyone is aware of Climate change, then make sustainable, selfless decision into concrete action that will bring about climate action. This should be in line with the Paris Agreement and achieving its goals.
What do you think is neccessary to stop this climate crisis we are living in?
We cannot fight the climate crisis alone as youth, we need everyone and every country to treat Climate crisis as an emergency, this means taking climate action seriously and take more concrete steps towards combating it.
It also includes governments making decisive and selfless decisions that encourage rapid positive Environmental changes. This should include putting people and the planet before profit.
What are your future plans in career and climate activism?
I decided to dedicate my life and joined millions of young people striking for Climate Action, I founded FridaysForFuture Uganda and I miss classes every Friday to take part in the climate strikes. I also clean Uganda’s lakes and rivers often, I plan to start training lake shore communities some sustainable practices and activities such as making brickets out of garbage collected from both the lake and from there dumpings. I have been and will continue being part of Activists writing open letters to public, corporate organisations and leaders demanding urgent Climate Action, until it’s achieved, I will not stop fighting.
I plan to study a master’s degree in sustainable development to help train my community sustainable skills which will benefit the country and the world at large.
What should be done for Global South* to be heard more?
We need Climate Justice at all levels. Make our voices heard and count. You shouldn’t wait for activists from Africa and the Global South to tell you how we are affected by climate change, or by your burning of fossil fuels, or by your garbage that ends up in our water bodies or sent to our countries because it’s not good for your developed countries. If it’s not good for you, it definitely isn’t good for us either.
‘It is never too late to join’
What do you do apart from climate activism. What are your hobbies?
I like Nature, I like art(drawings and paintings, designs). I don’t know if there’s such a hobby of being generous but I like doing acts of generosity.
How do you see the climate movement changing after 2020?
The Climate Movement is here to stay, it’s watching you and we will continue to act like adults if adults continue to act like children.
What would you suggest to the ones who want to start climate striking?
It’s never too late to join. You have made the right decision, your actions today will determine the kind of future you and your family live tomorrow so do your best.
* It was used to refer to countries in Asia and Africa and Latin America that are most affected by the consequences of climate crisis despite little contribution to greenhouse gas.