Laurel  |  She/Her

Little by Little

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests
Tropical and Subtropical Grasslands, Savannas, and Shrublands
Temperate Grasslands, Savannas, and Shrublands

Session 5: February 2, 2023

I grew up in the village, and I used to watch my father going to the farms with baskets of maize and grains to plant. When it was raining, we enjoyed watering our crops. My mother used to sell most of the harvest in town until, one bad season, we had little to no rain at all. It was really bad. It was really crazy. 

My father was stressed out, and he said it was caused by the impacts of climate change, of extreme weather conditions. It was very hurtful: we had little or no rain at all, and the climate variability affected the ability of our crops to grow. It was very hard for them to respond to the changes in weather.

Being raised in the Maasai land of conservationists, who depend on agriculture both for their own livelihoods and for the pastures where they feed their herds, it was a really tough time. Extreme weather, no food to sell, no pastures. The sun was hitting constantly. We had no rain. I felt that the plants were crying, and the land was really crying. 

That’s when I began my advocacy. I spoke for the voiceless, because the land couldn’t speak. The rivers couldn’t speak. I started small, in my learning institutions, at school and in my community. I became so passionate, educating people and advocating for the planting of trees: I’m trying to build resilience for climate variabilities. 

Right now, conditions are clearly not yet perfect, but we are doing the best we have to store and use the little rain we have, and to utilize every resource of the environment. Little by little, small advocacies.

Laurel is a vibrant young climate activist from the Maasai tribe and environmental health scientist by profession based in Dar es Salaam. Currently, she is an Environment Youth Ambassador in Tanzania under the Vice President’s Office. As an environmentalist, Laurel has successfully undertaken several climate projects in her capacity as the Environment Ambassador. She has also participated in organizing hybrid advocacy campaigns across the country including more than 15 projects on beach clean-ups, marine conservation at Chumbe Island, panel discussions, and tree planting campaigns, as well as a milestone movement called ‘Soma na Mti’, which involved secondary school students greening the environment. She has a wealth of experience working with institutions including the French Embassy, UNEP, and other youth-led organizations in Tanzania.