Anita Okunde – Interview with an activist
Would you tell us a bit about yourself and how you see your role in the climate discussion?
I’m a 17-year-old award-winning activist and public speaker focusing on issues specifically surrounding intersectional climate justice and feminism. My work has a focus on putting those disproportionately affected by the crisis we face at the forefront of the movement. This work has led me being listed as one of the top 100 environmentalists according to Forbes!
What are topics you deal with and what is your unique contribution?
My work with sustainability has always been centered around putting BIPOC people at the forefront of the climate movement. This has included setting up press conferences. Taking up space in white-dominated areas of climate activism. And speaking out against environmental classism and the hypocrisy of big companies who seem to forget individual changes every day is only one small part of moving towards a sustainable future.
What is your appeal to designers? What role do designers play in the climate crisis?
When corporations create 71% of the carbon emissions it becomes clear that the climate crisis is a crisis of mass production. Designers have an integral role to play in this now to stop the repercussions that young people will face for the decisions of today’s generation.
What does it mean for you to live a sustainable life and what tips can you give us all?
To try and change your everyday habits to become more sustainable. I don’t believe in a perfect brand of sustainability. I believe everyone should do their part to ensure that their life is as sustainable as possible. Ideally, we can make small changes. Such as using less water and looking at the products of buying to see whether we actually need them. I think the idea of consumption has a big part to play in how sustainable we can be. Because sometimes you can buy things that are branded as eco-friendly from greenwashed companies and say that is sustainable living but it’s not. You don’t actually need it so it is just as unsustainable as the normal products you would need. I do believe that we should be conscious of our purchases to make sure we actually need them. And also ensure that we have reusable products that mean we don’t have to buy things all the time and our planet and our money would benefit from it.
Where do you see yourself, us as a society, and our planet in 2030?
In 2030 I would hope that we have reached some of our climate goals with more pressure being put on the government to actually make realistic goals. I believe the climate crisis will present us with much more alarming consequences which will change the minds of society and force them to address the climate crisis as an emergency as it is. For me personally, I hope to have completed my studies. And work in parliament to influence the legislation for myself, ensuring we have a just transition for all.
Get to know Anita Okunde on Instagram or LinkedIn.