Young people join ProVeg International to demand food system change
25 March 2022
Ten young people from across the globe have joined a new Youth Board set up by food awareness organisation ProVeg International to push for food system change to tackle the climate crisis.
The Youth Board is being launched today as young people across the world take to the streets for the annual climate strike, organised by Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future, to rattle policymakers to act on climate change.
The members of the ProVeg Youth Board are from four continents and will be engaged in promoting ProVeg’s goals of reducing meat consumption by 50% by 2040 under the banner “Diet Change Not Climate Change”.
In particular, they will be helping to influence policymakers attending this year’s COP27, also known as the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which takes place in the Egyptian city of Sharm El-Sheikh from 7-18 November.
“The current generation will feel the effects of climate change more than any other and they want to act to prevent the worst effects of the crisis. Their voice is a crucial part of our Diet Change Not Climate Change campaign as they represent powerful change agents,” Juliette Tronchon, Policy and Public Affairs Specialist at ProVeg, said.
“By joining the Youth Board, these ten young people will have the support of the ProVeg team to articulate through social media channels and in live presentations the paramount importance of transforming our food system by replacing animal-based products with plant-based products and cultured meat alternatives.”
The Youth Board members are all already active campaigners in the field of climate change and represent a powerful grouping that will help to push forward the urgent need for food system change.
Rania Hashim, a 15-year-old member of the new board, said: ““Incorporating youth in global climate movements is integral to sustainable development as it is youth who are most affected by climate decisions we take today. I’m super excited to join ProVeg’s Youth Board to add my voice to the movement!”
Joshua Omonuk, a young climate activist from Uganda, said he was joining the ProVeg Youth Board because he believes a global transition to a plant-based diet is possible.
“Plant-rich diets reduce emissions and also tend to be healthier, leading to lower rates of chronic disease. I believe shifting to a diet rich in plants is a demand-side solution to global warming. Meat based diets come with a steep climate price tag. To ease this transition, plant-based options must be available, visible, and enticing, including high-quality meat substitutes,” Joshua said.
The members of our new Youth Board are as follows:
GENESIS BUTLER – UNITED STATES
American teenager Genesis Butler is only 15 years old but she’s already made a name for herself across the globe as an environmental campaigner. She became one of the youngest people ever to give a TEDx talk when she delivered “A 10-year-old’s vision for healing the planet”, discussing the impact of animal agriculture on the planet. Genesis is also the founder of Youth Climate Save, which is a global youth climate organization dedicated to raising awareness about the link between climate change and animal agriculture.
ELIZABETH GULUGULU – ZIMBABWE
Elizabeth Gulugulu is an environmental scientist and climate change activist from Zimbabwe who has been listed as one of the top 100 Young African Conservation Leaders. She is passionate about sustainable food systems as well as youth leadership. Currently she is involved in the work of the young activists network of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), which contributes to shaping intergovernmental climate change policies.
RANIA HASHIM – INDIA/UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Rania Hashim from India and the United Arab Emirates is a 15-year-old on a mission to drive human progress and disrupt industries, most specifically the food system. An alumni at the Knowledge Society, she is motivated by her vision of a cleaner, greener future – and making it a reality by learning and developing emerging technologies like cellular agriculture and biotechnology. She has carried out projects in the alternative protein space as well as in artificial intelligence and femtech.
VERONICA MULENGA – ZAMBIA
Zambian climate activist Veronica Mulenga joins the ProVeg Board having been campaigning tirelessly on climate change and environmental justice with Youth Climate Save. Veronica’s work focuses on raising awareness about the climate crisis, environmental injustice and the disproportionate impacts of climate on the most vulnerable.
EMMA GREENWOOD – UK
UK teenager Emma Greenwood has been at the forefront of bringing the message of climate change to people in power in her home city of Manchester. As a youth voice and climate justice activist, Emma has been vegan for the past three years and has helped to coordinate her local Youth Strikes 4 Climate in Manchester
RAHMINA PAULLETE – KENYA
Rahmina Paulette is a 16-year-old climate activist, environmentalist and a wildlife conservationist from Kenya. She is a young champion at the Wangari Maathai Foundation which develops courageous and responsible leadership among youth. She is also a campaigner at Food@COP, a movement led by a collection of young people from across the globe who believe that climate-friendly negotiations must take place over climate-friendly meals. And she is a Fridays for Future activist too.
OUYANG HUIYU – CHINA
Ouyang Huiyu is a campaigner from China who loves cooking and is passionate about food systems transformation. He works for the Good Food Fund (GFF) and the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation. Huiyu advocates for a plant-forward dietary and food system transformation. He is also a campaign lead for Act4Food Act4Change, a collective of young people who work to bring about positive change in our world’s food systems. Ouyang is also a champion at the World Food Forum, which is a youth-led movement to transform food systems.
HANNAH TESTA – UNITED STATES
Hannah Testa is a 19-year-old American and ardent sustainability advocate. Since the age of four, Hannah has made it her mission to fight for the planet and its future. Her passion is protecting people, animals, and the planet through education, awareness, and policy work. She is an international speaker, author, TEDx speaker, and founder of Hannah4Change, a non-profit dedicated to fighting issues that impact the planet.
THALES BEVILACQUA MENDONCA – BRAZIL
Thales Bevilacqua Mendonça is a young organic agroforestry farmer from Brazil who is passionate about food systems transformation. He grows vegetables, fruits, mushrooms and forests! Thales works with organic farming, PGS Systems (participatory guarantee systems) and sustainable commercialization chains. Thales believe we all need to do our part to transition to resilient, agroecological, adaptive and integrated food systems.
JOSHUA OMONUK – UGANDA
Joshua Omonuk is a climate activist from Uganda who is passionate about climate change solutions such as sustainable consumption and sustainable land use. He is particularly supportive of the Rise Up Movement. He gave up his full-time job as a statistician to devote all his time and energy to climate change work.
Notes to Editors
For press inquiries such as interview request, please contact Juliette Tronchon: [email protected]
For general media inquiries, contact Peter Rixon: [email protected]
About ProVeg International
ProVeg is an international food awareness organisation working to transform the global food system by replacing conventional animal-based products with plant-based and cultured alternatives.
ProVeg works with international decision-making bodies, governments, food producers, investors, the media, and the general public to help the world transition to a society and economy that are less dependent on animal agriculture and more sustainable for humans, animals, and our planet.
ProVeg has permanent-observer status with the UNFCCC, is accredited for UNEA, and has received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award.