Meet the incredible people behind the work we do at C40 Cities
What motivated you to work in the climate space, and how did you become involved with C40?
My involvement in the climate space stemmed from a pivotal moment during my time as a student when I signed up for a petition advocating for fossil fuel divestment on my campus.
At that time, I was pursuing a Master’s degree focused on the role of business in international development within the context of globalisation, with a particular emphasis on private sector competitiveness in the green economy. The divestment petition sparked my interest in student-driven political movements and the power of public pressure to hold fossil fuel companies accountable.
Fortunately, a job opportunity emerged at 350.org, an organisation dedicated to supporting and building the global climate movement. I joined their team and worked on campaigns related to fossil fuel divestment and reforming development banks to halt fossil fuel financing for several years. It was during this period that an exciting opportunity arose in C40’s newly formed Campaigns team.
What struck me about C40 was the chance to contribute to the growth of a movement centred around mayoral leadership. Recognising the importance of strong local leadership in tackling climate change, I decided to apply for the position at C40 to support this crucial movement.
What’s an accomplishment that you are proud of in your work with C40?
One of my proudest accomplishments at C40 has been the creation of a Youth Engagement Playbook for Cities. Throughout my time at C40, I have had numerous opportunities to support the coordination of global youth and mayoral dialogues, which have been incredibly fulfilling. However, the development of the Youth Engagement Playbook stands out as a significant achievement.
Bringing together the voices of youth, civil society organisations, and city contributions, the playbook was a huge undertaking. It aimed to provide guidance on meaningful youth engagement and involvement in city climate action planning, decision making and implementation. The process was demanding, but the outcome has been truly rewarding. The playbook has played a pivotal role in shaping the youth programme within C40.
Thanks to the playbook, we have witnessed a remarkable growth in interest from C40 cities on how to effectively engage young people in city-led climate action. Currently, we have 17 C40 cities and counting that are eager to collaborate with each other and young people on meaningful youth engagement. This level of engagement is a testament to the impact and effectiveness of the playbook, as it has paved the way for such progress.
What upcoming initiatives is C40 working on that you are excited about?
I’m working on the new C40 City Youth Engagement Network, which aims to support cities in collaborating and learning from each other about effective youth engagement in city-led climate action. The network builds on the playbook. This initiative has great potential to help cities build young people’s support for science-based action taken by cities, which is really promising.
Young people have been instrumental in putting the climate crisis at the top of the public and political agenda. With the formation of the City Youth Engagement Network, I’m looking forward to seeing how cities nurture and leverage their partnerships with young people to create a more sustainable and resilient future.
The inclusion of youth in planning and decision-making processes can supercharge the ambitious climate actions taken by cities. They bring fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and a deep commitment to addressing the climate crisis. Engaging young people will not only empower them but also ensure that future leaders are meaningfully involved in tackling climate change, today.
How do you balance your personal and professional life?
I enjoy outdoor activities, particularly trail running. Living close to Delta Park in Johannesburg offers me the ideal escape. Its scenic landscape, bird sanctuary, dams and rolling hills provide a calming environment in the city. It brings a sense of adventure into my weekly routine, allowing me to connect with the surroundings and clear my mind.
15 July is World Youth Skills Day. What’s one piece of advice you have for young people who are looking to make a positive impact through their careers?
If you’re a young person aspiring to make a positive impact through your career, aligning your career with sustainability can contribute significantly to a better future. Sustainability is not limited to jobs in the climate space, even in traditional industries, there are opportunities to integrate sustainable practices and drive positive change. Making a positive impact extends beyond specific job titles. Look for opportunities to integrate sustainability into any field.
Networking is also crucial. Connect with professionals, organisations, and communities working on sustainability in your chosen field. Attend conferences, seminars, or webinars to expand your network and learn from experienced individuals. Engaging with like-minded individuals can provide mentorship, collaboration opportunities, and insights that can help make a positive impact.
In addition, use your voice to raise awareness about sustainability and advocate for change within your field, community and beyond. Social media platforms, blogs, or local initiatives can be effective channels for spreading your message and inspiring others to take action.