Amara  |  She/Her

I Used This Knowledge

Lagos, Nigeria
Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests

Session 6: February 24, 2023

My name is Amara. I’m from Lagos, Nigeria, and I’ve basically lived here my entire life. And I don’t think there is ever just one reason that any of us get into climate activism or become interested in caring for our earth, but one thing that feels true for me is that I’ve always been a curious kid. I’ve always been the one to want to learn the name of every plant I see. I would cut samples, or pull them up (which is probably not the best for the environment) and stick them in my room, trying to get them to grow myself.

I always wanted to know how to preserve life, because I grew up in a major city—one of the most populous cities in the world. I never had the opportunity to go out whenever I felt like it and hike a mountain or surf in the ocean. I don’t drive past trees every day. I never really got to see a proper rainforest until I was 13, and that was when I traveled to the US over one of my yearly summer trips. I think that trip was the first time I absolutely knew. For the first time, I was able to see something that I never really had access to before. I poured myself into it—I spent the entire day just lying in the grass outside and playing with my younger cousins under the shade of trees. I was like, “is this what life really is?”

And that same year, when I was 13, when I came back to Lagos, my entire house got flooded. We had to pack our bags and relocate into the safe lodge of my Godmother’s house until our house got back to habitable conditions. These floods we’ve been having are recurring, and they displace so many people, destroy homes and communities. And no one knows what to do about it. Because I grew up in a city where there’s so many more things to be worried about than climate change—there’s poverty, there’s corruption, there’s crime, there’s kidnappings. Something that isn’t as tangible or relatable was not discussed when I was younger. So I was confused about why our house flooded—how did that happen? I felt vulnerable. I was scared. I was like, “How do we know it’s not gonna happen again, even if we rebuild? We can’t keep living like this.”

So I took it upon myself to find out exactly why the floods are happening and to learn how to protect people against them. And I used this knowledge. I told my parents, and they told other people, and they were like, “Amara, you need to find a way to help everyone else know, too.” Because we had the money to rebuild. I’m privileged in the fact that I still have a roof over my head. But what about the people who don’t?

So I tried to find a way to raise awareness, and that’s really how I got into the whole climate space, by trying to educate people, to let people know—so that they aren’t as vulnerable. Right now, I’m focusing on raising awareness about the crisis and empowering other people to make a change in their environment, their actions. I’m trying to help people see how much nature does for us, and how we’re vulnerable to her because we haven’t treated her well.

Amara is a 15-year-old Nigerian-American activist, social innovator, actor, and author. She founded and runs Fight Global Warming Nigeria (also known as Preserve Our Roots), which is an organization and social movement that works to raise awareness about climate change through interactive workshops, informational videos, and local initiatives. Through her work as a climate activist, she has served as a speaker and youth representative, led climate education bootcamps, served as a member of the CC delegation at COP27, and has written several newspaper articles about climate change. She works to address inequality, corruption, and discrimination by leading Beach Clean-ups, raising funding for communities affected by climate change, running shoe and book drives for government schools, and exposing herself to volunteer work. In December 2022, she published her first poetry book: For We Are Curious.