Londoner Fatima Ibrahim has been named winner of the 2020 Global Citizen Prize: UK's Hero Award for her work setting up a new global environmental movement targeting inequality through the creation of green jobs.
The Global Citizen Prize: Country Hero Award acknowledges local activists who have worked specially hard to improve the lot of their home communities, fight for social justice and improve the environment.
Speaking to Global Citizen, the anti-poverty campaign group, Ms Ibrahim, 27, explained that she’d felt driven to take up the green cause after realising she’d been born into “a climate emergency”. Aged 18, she began collaborating with other young climate campaigners around the world and organised youth climate conferences for the United Nations.
“I realised that there’s nothing else I can be working on if the future is really at stake for my generation and for generations to come,” she said.
In practice, this meant helping to organise the People’s March for Climate in 2014 and campaigning with the Avaaz online activist movement. She believes social justice organisations, such as Black Lives Matter, are intrinsically linked with environmental issues.
“Racial justice, economic justice, social justice, [and] climate justice are all super linked,” she said, arguing that the current economic model is exacerbating social deprivation as well as harming the planet, and it’s poor people who suffer most from environmental degradation.
But in the UK, COVID-19 has actually helped to bring communities together in an inspiring way, said Ms Ibrahim, the daughter of Somali refugee parents who was born in Canada but settled in London as a child. Neighbourliness has increased in the face of adversity.
Reflecting on her award, Ms Ibrahim said: “I love the idea behind the Global Citizen [Prize]. It’s a really important way of recognising not just the individuals, but the movements that are working toward the Sustainable Development Goals, who are looking to close the inequality gap, meet our climate targets, and overcome poverty.”
This isn’t the first time Vodafone has supported Global Citizen. In April 2020, the company partnered with the anti-poverty movement and the World Health Organisation for their ‘One World: Together at Home’ digital event curated by Lady Gaga.
The event featured a roster of world class artists performing live from their homes in support of health workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
- UK audiences can watch the 2020 Global Citizen Prize show, featuring performances from Gwen Stefani and John Legend among others, on Sky TV at 7.00pm on Monday 21 December.
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