For Time, Angelina interviewed climate activist Vanessa Nakate about the topics of activism and the Power of African voices.
TIME100 talked to UNHCR special envoy Angelina and climate activist Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate, 23, for an interview which will be published in the TIMES issue on July 20. You can watch the entire interview above. Read on for some snippets:
The work you’re doing is really teaching all of us because, as you know more than anyone, the conversation about the climate crisis has been very limited to a few voices. How did you get involved?
Before my graduation, I started carrying out research to understand the challenges that people [in my community] were facing, and I was really surprised to find that climate change was actually the biggest threat facing humanity right now. I realized every part of my country, Uganda, is affected by the climate crisis: when you go to the north, the people are suffering with long dry spells; when you go to the eastern part of the country, they’re suffering with landslides and floods. I decided that I had to become a voice in the climate movement and try to get justice.
Often you hear people are going hungry because of conflict or bad governments. But it’s often linked, as you point out, to climate.
Some of the conflicts arise from shortages in resources. For example, Lake Chad, in Africa, has shrunk to a tenth of its size in just 50 years. The population keeps growing. So there is definitely going to be a struggle for resources. And this will disrupt the peace in the area. When you look at the root of all of this, sometimes it starts [with] climate change.
Climate activism is not easy in many places, but you’re in a place where you could be arrested. You are really very courageous to do what you do.
It is not easy to go out there, especially in the beginning when I was doing these strikes by myself. My family didn’t really understand what I was doing. Most of my friends found it very, very weird. But later on, many of them started understanding why I was doing this. And some of them decided to get involved.