Mya Rose-Craig author of We Have a Dream, avid birdwatcher, and advocate for inclusivity in the climate conversation, has been trying to change the world since the age of 11. When she was just 14, she set up an organisation called Black2Nature which arranges outdoor activities in nature for Visible Minority Ethnic (VME) groups and aims to encourage ethnic diversity in environmentalism.
Now that she’s 19, her passion for opening up the climate conversation to include people from all walks of life hasn’t faded one bit. Her book, We Have a Dream, gives 30 young indigenous people and people of colour a space to explain how climate change is directly affecting their lives and the lives of people around them, and the hard work that they’re putting in to help.
(Zanagee Artis who co-founded Zero Hour, a youth-led climate justice organisation)
How did you decide who to include in
We Have a Dream?
“It was a challenge to track down all the young people highlighted in the book as some were so far below the radar–but they were chosen as they were all amazing young environmental campaigners of colour from around the world. They spoke about how their communities are disproportionately affected by the climate catastrophe, the rising number of climate refugees in their region, what their dreams are for the future of the planet, how they are rarely heard or visible in global conversations and almost always ignored by the press in the Global North who focus on White privileged European activists.”
(Ander Congil Ross who co-founded Fridays for Future Girona, a regional branch of Spain's climate strike movement)
What’s the best piece of advice you
have been given?
“To listen more than you speak. Western countries have very Western narratives around climate change and the way they think about environmental issues. Which I think is because in the West, in some ways, we’re not immediately impacted by climate change, it can be more abstract. Almost every non-Western young environmental activist is presented as, say, “the Greta [Thunberg] of China” when they might not be anything like Greta. We need to hear these different voices from outside the West and amplify what they have to say.”
(Sultan Ahmed who is Bangladesh's youth representative for the Global Youth Biodiversity Network)
How does climate change impact you?
“As a British-Bangladeshi woman, climate breakdown is not some grim future or vague concept, but something real and dangerous. My family in Bangladesh are living in a country which is already facing the worst effects of it, with millions of climate refugees in Dhaka. Our village has had terrible storms causing early flooding which wiped out rice crops. As well as flooding, the country is affected by non-seasonal droughts and increased typhoons. By 2060 it is predicted there will be up to one billion climate refugees worldwide”
(Talissa M. Soto Krentzien who organises events where people can share their grief about environmental loss, and plan to build a sustainable world)
In We Have a Dream, you interviewed 30 activists and campaigners from around the world aged 30 or under. What have you learnt from some of them?
“So many different things. I learnt a lot from literally every person I spoke to. The overall thing was learning from people who are already on the frontline in terms of campaigning and how much that can teach you. So many of them were tenacious or inspirational or strong or passionate and they all had so much to say. The book is literally called We Have a Dream and the common theme was that if you have a dream you need to go out and make change happen.”
(Lesein Mutunkei who started the Trees 4 Goals initiative, encouraging football teams to plant trees every time they score a goal)
What message do you have for anyone who reads your book?
“The thing that I really wanted to communicate in the book was that you can make change no matter how big or small or old or young you are–if you care about something, you can go out and try and make it better. So many of these activists were so young when they started and I wanted to make a book that encouraged kids to
go out and change the world.”