Campus student finds purpose in environmental conservation

Wangari Njoroge

Transformation to a higher value-added economy and the ‘great green climate transition’ has proven to be the most viable route to mitigate climate crisis in the continent.

Climate change continues to affect lives worldwide and efforts to combat its adverse effects have been called for.

John Linus, a final year student at Moi University answered this call and has embarked on a remarkable journey towards youth engagement and environmental advocacy through the creation of Green World Youth.

In an exclusive interview, Linus stated that his passion for leadership, development and governance, coupled with his commitment to environmentalism, led him to initiate this innovative platform in September 2020.

“When I joined campus, I found myself engaging with student leadership. From there, I was influenced into youth leadership and thought to start something that would help the young people,” Linus stated.

The Genesis

Hailing from Migori County in Kenya, Linus thought of how he would bring together the youth for an initiative that would give back to the community; for him, Green World Youth initiative started just as an initiative.

“After months of volunteering in climate action and networking, I realized that a number of youths from different parts of the world are driving different initiatives that are in line with the Sustainable Development Goal. Then I asked myself, why not me?” he further explained.

Linus leads a group of students to plant trees in kindu Primary School in Awendo, Sub-county, Migori Count

He stated how he was focused on saving the environment while focusing on Sustainable Development Goal (13) Climate Action.

Inspired by the global initiatives of youth tackling SDGs, Linus envisioned a space where young people from diverse backgrounds could collaborate.

Four years down the line, Linus described how fulfilling the foundation is as he has a great team that is prioritising the youth and a clean environment.

The Initiative; Green World Youth

Linus stated the different initiatives that his Community Based Organization has done since its inception.

“In rural Kenya, what we do specifically is advocacy and climate education which creates awareness on climate change.

“Nonetheless, we’ve had so many projects over the years, mostly giving back to the community and training the youth so that they can join the movement and help conserve the environment,” he said.

Linus stated that he found solace in tree planting, cleaning water sources, the environment and educating learners about the importance of environmental conservation.

He also started a mini-initiative dubbed ‘Back to Eden’ a project where he mobilized planting fruit trees in Migori County.

“Back to Eden aimed in planting fruit trees for environmental conservation as well as food production,” he said.

Through the ‘Back to Eden’ project, he organized a tree planting session at Toi Primary School in Kibra during last year’s Africa Climate Summit and in Kindu Primary School in Awendo sub-county, Migori County.

Linus led Green World Youth participation in a Climate strike during  United Nations Environmental Assembly ( UNEA6).

He also opened up about his partnership with Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) groups to help learners in primary and secondary schools with sanitary towels and innerwear.

“When Green World Youth organize tree planting events in primary and secondary schools, we don’t only incorporate climate things rather partner with other organizations to source for essential materials such as sanitary towels, games kits, clothing among others.”

Linus proudly announced the representation of Green World Youth in 92 countries in attempt to bring more opportunities to the youth in Kenya and create a wide network for future collaboration.

He indicated that additional initiatives are forthcoming for the fledgling organization as there remains considerable grassroots work to be accomplished.

“The young people are the future and we are planning to make sure that climate education is a normal conversation among them so that they can sensitize others to understand that climate change exists,” Linus said on Green World Youth’s future.

A personal journey

Apart from influencing the community and the youth, Linus acknowledged the profound impact Green World Youth has had on him personally.

“Starting this organization has given me a brand of its own, I’ve built networks across the world and gained knowledge in sustainable development goals,” he shared.

His work was recognized both locally and internationally, attracting accolades and nominations.

Linus’s dedication to his cause earned him recognition as a global influencer, ranking at position 202 among 500 influencers worldwide for his positive impact on climate action.

In 2023, he was awarded the Global Humanitarian Award for his outstanding contributions to community development and environmental conservation.

As a result of learning to tirelessly balance between his academics and his humanitarian roles, Linus has become a great manager of time and people.

“Multi-tasking in my case has been rewarding as the end results of my work are satisfying. I am committed to both endeavours and I’m getting better at it everyday,” said Linus.

He equally acknowledged the significance of the connections he’s made and the knowledge he’s gained.

Further, he emphasized on the importance of innovative solutions to global challenges and aims to continue expanding Green World Youth’s reach, advocating for climate education and community engagement especially among the youth.

“In my different interactions, I found that a number of people still don’t believe that climate change exists; more so in local backgrounds and local settings. Therefore, there is need for climate education,” he recapped.

Leadership, mentorship and empowerment

Through his leadership and commitment to sustainability, Linus exemplifies the transformative power of individual action in addressing pressing local issues.

He described his once a dream as a team that aims to influence the young people to volunteer into humanitarian work and get into leadership positions.

In his journey, he has brought home networks of impact to the local community such as the Malawi Youth Army, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) among others.

“Green World Youth partnerships continue to provide opportunities for young people interested in humanitarian work to participate in fellowships, mentorship and leadership programmes,” he expounded on the role of his organization in youth empowerment.

Moving forward, Linus hopes that the community-based organization will plant more trees in local schools and get even more young learners on board so as to carry with him his passion as a climate champion.

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