Financing Restoration: The Africa Climate Summit Through the Eyes of a Youth Climate Champion

Michael Kakande, a youth climate advocate who lives in Kampala, Uganda, is a passionate certified climate reality leader and climate-induced migration expert, mobilizing youth to lead on nature and climate. He is the founder and chairperson of the Resilient 40 (R40), an African youth partnership toward climate resilience on the African continent.

When we met for our conversation, he had recently returned from the Africa Climate Summit (ACS), which he described as a finance summit. The ACS took place last month, gathering 17 heads of African nations alongside leaders in finance, energy, tech and agriculture along with members of civil society and youth advocates. Africa, as a continent, is responsible for less than 5% of annual climate emissions, yet is home to 17 of the 20 nations most impacted by climate change.

So why was the ACS considered a finance summit? There is a sizable gap between the sort of financing African nations need to address climate change and the stark impediments they face due to overwhelming debt and limiting credit ratings. The current financial system, which UN  Secretary General António Guterres calls “morally bankrupt” and one that “perpetuates poverty and inequalities” has left many African nations unable to invest in critical infrastructure and education, let alone the measures needed for climate mitigation and adaptation.

There is such brilliance in Africa. So much life and abundance and potential. Africa is a young continent, with more than 60% of the population under the age of 25. They are making whatever moves they can with the resources they have, but they are also kept waiting. Waiting on the good people who convene high level meetings at the ACS and that will soon meet once again at COP28 in Dubai. Waiting for them to fulfill their promises for funding and action.

When Alyssa Ng and I met with Michael, finance was at the top of the agenda. Loss and damage too. We spent our time focusing on what is possible and what sort of funding is needed to help people restore the places that they have called home for generations. Countless people have been forced out of their homes. They are displaced peoples; unwilling climate migrants looking for life wherever they can find it. Would they stay if they could? Of course they would.

We hope you find the conversation interesting and inspiring. You can listen here and read a transcript of the conversation below. 

This transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

Andrew Schwartz: Hello, and thank you for joining us today for the dialogue series that the Center for Earth Ethics team is hosting on ecosystem restoration. Today we’re with Michael Kakande from Resilient40, where he and I had the pleasure of meeting the COP27 and we’re just thrilled to be having this conversation with you. And there’s Alyssa Ng, who’s with the Center for Earth Ethics as well. We’re really looking to have this conversation around ecosystem restoration, loss and damage, and what just happened at the Africa Climate Summit. As we’re in the midst of this climate crisis, and as it’s accelerating, there’s so much that needs to be done. So I just want to set the stage a little bit as we get into this conversation, and then I’ll ask Michael and Alyssa to introduce themselves in fuller detail.

As I said, we are in a time of unprecedented change. The climate crisis is actively transforming the earth as we know it, due to unlimited fossil fuel emissions. The climate crisis is shifting weather patterns, causing more drought, different rain affecting food production, seasonal work, the whole thing. So we’re at this stage where we know we need to be making moves, we know that we need to be reducing, drawing down and phasing out fossil fuel emissions, and then scaling up renewable energy options. Of course, the places that need energy the most and where fossil fuels are also being pushed the most are in developing countries, where we could jump that gap from not using fossil fuel emissions and just deploying renewable energy options. 

I know, Michael, you’ve spoken really eloquently on this issue in some of your remarks, but we know that there are major impediments, which is why we need to be talking about loss and damage and debt restructuring. The UN Secretary General Antonio Gutierrez calls our current financial system “morally bankrupt,” a global financial system that perpetuates poverty and inequalities. So we need to be aware of the systems and structures that are keeping us locked into the system that is destroying the world as we know it, and actively pursuing alternative options that we know work that are ready to be deployed. That’s why debt and financial structures were at the heart of the most recent African Climate Summit, or the ACS. We know that in addition to phasing down fossil fuels, we must engage in real repairs to the natural world and our relationship to it. And by that, I mean ecosystem restoration, which will help us mitigate and adapt to climate change. This requires investment in the land and the water and the air and the communities that rely on those ecosystems for their livelihoods. That inevitably leads us to a question about loss and damage, which was a major pillar of COP 27, and again, at ACS, and I know will garner major attention at COP 28. So with all these things in mind, I want to turn to you, Michael, to better introduce yourself and some of the work you’re doing because I know you wear a lot of hats. So please, over to you.

Michael Kakande: Thank you so much, Andrew, and thank you for having me for this very important discussion. To introduce myself: I’m Michael Kakande—I am the chairperson of Resilient 40, which is an African climate youth action network that is spread across 30 African countries, and majorly our work has been on engaging policymakers to get to work when it comes to the current climate and ecological crisis as we see them before us in the African context. 

We did play a huge part when it came to the Africa Climate Summit, which was an integral summit for us as Africans. It was one of the first we had on the continent, and I think it was a recap of Africans thinking: Okay, what can we contribute in line to climate action? What solutions do we bring to the table for scalability, as well for the world? (Because, as we know, climate change is not an African issue now—it’s a global issue that necessitates national collaboration.) So given the summit, we did a lot of work when it came to convening youth voices to the processes. We understand that youth or children voices are not so much into these processes, so as a Resilient 40, we came in there and we were part of the non-state actors steering committee, which was shaping the narrative around the summit on inclusivity. So we did a lot of work on gender, women—these very key aspects when it comes to policy-making. There’s been very big gaps when it comes to such processes. 

Wearing that cap, we did a lot of work because the Climate Action Summit happened alongside the Africa Climate Week. It was a very busy week, and we did manage to come up with positions in line with that. For me, the most exciting of all is seeing so many brilliant young Africans working to solve this climate issue because it’s one that is very apparent before us; and us being alongside policy makers to figure out how we can work through the crisis is very key. If you want me to go over the Climate Summit, I’ll be glad to do so. So, Andrew, back to you.

AS: Alyssa, would you mind introducing yourself and some of the work you’re doing? We were both at the Biodiversity COP in Montreal last year, and I know you’ve been tracking both 30 by 30 and some of the global frameworks around this, especially when it comes to financing and all those aspects. So please, Alyssa, if you wouldn’t mind introducing yourself.

Alyssa Ng: I’m a research associate at the Center for Earth Ethics based in New York. A big focus of mine is analyzing these different environmental issues—climate change, climate solutions, biodiversity—through a wide variety of different lenses. So it could be moral, spiritual, gender, climate justice, scientific and so on. One of the main things that I do at CEE is tracking these big policy pieces around climate change and ecosystem restoration, and really zooming in on financing pieces, which as we all know, really underpins a lot of our progress. Also looking at just generally what is happening at the UN. Because like Michael said, climate change is a real global crisis, so the UN has a big part to play in that. Just like on policy, really working to demystify some of the language, really looking at what these policies mean—how it affects us and the way we move forward. On that note, for the policy level, I’ve been following the global biodiversity framework really closely that was adopted at the Convention on Biodiversity COP 15 in December 2022 in Montreal. Being at COP 15 and seeing the progress that was made with the adoption, it was really amazing to be in that space, as it’s a significant pathway to really ramp up our ecosystem restoration goals and reduce biodiversity loss, and seeing how it ties into climate. So that’s really interesting, and something that I’m working really closely on. I’ll stop there.

AS: So Michael, I think I would love to build on that point where you were on the Africa Climate Summit. I know a major piece of what you were lifting up was this debt, and all these pieces around loss and damage. So would you mind just sharing a bit more about why you took the positions that you did, why it’s so important to focus on loss and damage as it relates to the work that needs to be done in community to build resilience and do these different pieces around ecosystem restoration or just community development.

MK: I love saying that the Africa Climate Summit was in so many ways a financing summit. Of course, it was hosted in Kenya, as one of the African countries on the front lines. We realized that in Africa, we apply some solutions to the crisis. Agendas on loss and damage remained crucial—financing climate adaptation at scale for impact remains very crucial. But beyond that was an opportunity for us to provide solutions, scale them to the climate crisis, and for the world to bring the necessary financing at scale. 

When you look at all the dynamics that are in place, you can realize that the African Union vision for the summit was to go beyond the loss and damage agenda and look into the climate adaptation agenda. Both remain very important, but as well, how to crowd in financing at scale to bring Africans’ viable solutions to the global market. We’re a very young continent with very brilliant young people. So how do we bring such solutions from an offset on ground, through to the world to buy in and see how we put that to global scanning. Of course, when we look at all the data that we have in place, we are very sure that Africa contributes close to 2-3% of the greenhouse gas emissions, yet we suffer most under all climate scenarios that you can imagine above 1.5 degree solutions. 

So, climate mitigation is fully a responsibility for big corporations, who are chiefly—I love using the word chiefly because they’re the people doing all these emissions—who are chiefly responsible for global warming. Still when we dive into statistics you can tell that seven of the ten countries that are most vulnerable to climate change are in Africa. That’s in reference to Mozambique, Malawi, Ghana, and Madagascar on the other side of Africa. So it necessitated us to come together to draw solutions, given all the geopolitics that we see around us, to know where we stand as Africa— to do our solutions and put them off to the world to see how they can tap in.

 In the context of Africa, food and water insecurity, given our reliance on rain-fed agriculture, is a time bomb for us, which is the basis for 90% of Africa’s food security. Existential threats now, when it comes to the farmer/herder crisis, we see them brim across sub-Saharan Africa, fighting for these very scarce resources. Arable land scarcity, as well as political instabilities within the region, further destabilize and make it hard for the economic growth that would so much look into all these climate adaptation and mitigation agendas as we have as a continent. 

When you look at all the commitments made, you realize that developed countries will only have to help in mitigating the impact, and they’re doing this through carbon trading and other forms of reductions in fossil fuel usage. But that leaves Africa only to benefit—that’s if we look into it as a global shift, if every country gets the political will to look into that global shift. So for us as Africa, it is clear that the developed north has got to get much, much more serious about delivering on their promises, and has made the climate catastrophes as we see them unfold before us—I love saying not before Africa—before the world as we see them today. 

All in all, the Africa Climate Summit was a financing summit, bringing together all innovations from Africa. I think it was a very big lesson, we learned over the past COP 27 in Egypt, where we had something like an African agenda that was scrapped off during the sessions. So it gave us an opportunity to come together as Africa and it was very good to see 17 African presidents in one city, all brainstorming around the climate change issue—it was really big. Seeing all that we had to come up with, of course, with so much frustration here and there. And given it was a political session, we managed to convene Africa to air out the issues as Africa. Tapping into the entire world to see how we can draw solutions, because this is not an African problem—it’s a global issue that will bring forth so many things as we’ve been seeing them before us: the migration that is now very evident, and there’s so much yet to come. That’s all I can share about the Africa summit and I was glad to be part of the sessions. Thank you so much.

AS: I loved how you framed it: this was an opportunity—it was a financial summit, yes—but also this opportunity to provide solutions, not just for Africa, but for the world. I think that’s in this global context, and within these paradigm shifts of understanding this knowledge sharing that needs to happen. Because Africa is so young, and because there’s so much brilliance and young motivated people, and this opportunity to take this power and this energy and let that swell, and allow the Global South to really speak up in the way that you did at the Africa Climate Summit, and that’s why we were so keen to support. We need to get rid of this idea that the Global North, who are the purveyors of all these problems—there’s a recent report on the “planet wreckers,” the top five countries that are financing all these fossil fuel projects—they’re all Global North. So as we look at where these solutions need to come from— there’s this great quote from Audre Lorde, it says, “The master’s tools will not deconstruct the master’s house.” So we need to be thinking: Where do these solutions need to come from? Who do we need to be listening to right now? How are we prioritizing? It was so exciting for me to see, from where I sit in the Global North, in America, the energy, the motivation and the brilliance that was coming out of the Africa Climate Summit from leaders like you and others, so it’s a real delight to hear your perspectives.

I’d like to turn to you, Alyssa, another brilliant youth in this game who’s working hard on it. How do you see it? Because you were just recently at a conference really exploring these contours of these major financial infrastructures—these multilateral development banks—the forces that need to start motivating and deploying the money so that we can have these solutions realized.  So I’d like to turn it over to you, Alyssa, to share your vantage point, both on the loss and damage questions, and then how are these things needing to be brought together to deploy the right sort of finances that we need to see?

AN: From my vantage point, I really focus on the World Bank and looking at what they’re doing when it comes to financing fossil fuels. Fossil fuels underpin both the biodiversity loss crisis and climate change. So it’s a really big problem that we need to focus on. In very recent conferences, like the G-20, at UNGA, at all these different places, even the COPs, there’s been calls for reform to the multilateral development banks and how they’re giving out money, and making sure that actually gets to where it needs to go and it has those impacts that we want to see. Something that the World Bank is going through right now is basically their own institutional reform. One of the things they’re looking at is really how to prioritize climate, and making sure that they’re really funding climate change mitigation and adaptation. So obviously, that’s been called on a lot. We know how big of a role finance has. Even going back to COP 15, there were calls for a fund to help developing countries really implement the biodiversity goals. I think that ties in really well to loss and damage, because even though we’re talking about loss and damage mostly in a climate change context, biodiversity loss could also really be included in that.

AS: Absolutely. You saw it both at COP 15 and the ACS. There’s this gap between pledges and then actual money being sent out. I know that there were some major wins that came out of ACS. Zambia saw 6.3 billion for debt restructuring. I know that there is a major piece for Senegal as well looking at some of their debt restructuring. There is this real look at saying: We know the conditions that are keeping us where we are. Then it’s this constant question of: How do we get it faster? How do we get it more? We know that we need a trillion, roughly 3% of global GDP between now and 2025, which is not far at all, and then another trillion between now and 2030. There’s a timetable that we’re on. Michael, as you said, there’s the 1.5 degree mark, which has different repercussions, especially for those seven to ten African countries that you named, that are going to be different for the repercussions for different parts of the world. So there is a moral compass that the world needs to get behind that says: We need to be doing the right things so that impacted peoples are not impacted to any sort of degree more than they are now. So how are we doing that? 

I think one thing I want to look at and come back to you on is this solutions piece, because we know what we need to do on this large global scale, and so much of that feels out of our control. That can be very disheartening, both to me and for so many other people saying: How do we move these big structures? How do I get the World Bank? How do we get any of these major financial institutions to move faster? That’s going to move at the speed it’s going to move at, we’ll do our work to motivate them.

But I want to hear from you about some of the solutions that you’re really championing; that you would like to see implemented globally; that you think can really help shape some of these conversations, because people are hungry, they want more. I think so much of what you’re doing can help motivate and lead to some of that change. So I’d love to hear from you about solutions that you’re seeing; gaps that you would like to be filled, both for the African context, which I know is quite broad, but then more globally as well.

MK: I gladly say that as African youth, we’ve been doing a lot of work when it comes to financial reforms, because we feel there’s been many funds in place that our governments couldn’t even have access to. I usually give people an example of the GCF, and I give a scenario: If a country can fail to have access to such a fund, how will civil society, or how will a company somewhere be able to get such a fund? So, in that line and in reality, we’ve been doing a lot of work when it comes to the financial reforms, because we know there’s literally nothing we can do today without the aspect of finance. So we need these funds in place to have all these very wonderful initiatives done and right away, because we don’t have any time left, as Andrew has alluded to—we have a very short period of time left. We can only catch up with our ambitions or targets when there’s such available funds in place to have all these wonderful plans in place and running. 

In short, for me, the biggest lesson I’ve learned in all of this is the aspect of dialogue. Every time I think the world just needs to create more spaces for dialogue, to have clearer pictures of what’s happening, as opposed to what big corporate bodies have to put out there, through their disinformation campaigns. One of the biggest problems we have as the world, that probably the world hasn’t noticed yet, is the issue of misinformation. There is a lot of disinformation on climate change that is being moved around by these big corporations, that of course are earning big out of the crisis, given the company structures and goals. So until we get to a point where we address the issue of disinformation, creating more spaces for dialogue—have people sit in the same room, each air out their issues and come to a common ground, a common understanding—will be the only way to go. 

Given my background in my work so far, in the policy spaces, I’ve realized that there is a very big disconnect between what we call the Global North and the Global South. I’ve been in so many rooms and I’ve seen the geopolitics that happens, which I feel, for me as a young African, has been a very big pushback to all the world ambitions, all these programs that people have in place. Until we get to a place where we can sit on the same table—of course, I’m very glad when I hear of issues of the UN Security Council inviting the African Union to be part of the councils and big frontiers under the UN structures; inviting Africa to be part of these very key decision-making processes is one of the gateways we are getting there. Until we get to a time where every voice matters, and no one is left behind—right from the structure systems around financing, around migration, around so many aspects of life—then we will come up with something very concrete. 

So I talk much about the aspect of financing because it’s very broad. From an African perspective, I will say that all we need the world to do, or the Global North to do, is stand by the promises, because we’ve had so many promises in the past that have not come to fruition. So until we get to a place where we actually see these promises being fulfilled, then are we going to be moving in a certain direction when it comes to all the climate adaptation and mitigation plans as we have them, and as I said earlier on: This is not an African problem—this is a global problem that necessitates all of us coming together, and showing the agency there is, and putting all this concerted action together to see how we can leave a future that is livable for the next generations after us. 

This is not an African problem—this is a global problem that necessitates all of us coming together and putting all this concerted action together to see how we can leave a future that is livable for the next generations after us.

AS: I deeply appreciate what you say, especially around the corporate disinformation and the greenwashing. We’re even seeing this with the COP 28 presidency. It’s one of these moments where there’s this opportunity just to almost want to give up and just say: Look at the capture; look at the other side. But then there’s this piece, and I think you say it so well: There are so many motivated people; there’s so many people who are seeing it, and how do we create space? How do we come together and create these global networks in this global fabric that is going to catch us as things and our institutions begin to crumble and fall? What are we doing proactively in community—and not just the community of where we are, but the community of this world? 

That’s why I was so excited to be in conversation with you for all these months and have this conversation today. Because it is in this exchange, and in this learning and greater acknowledgement of not only what the challenges are, but what solutions are being posited, that we can learn from each other. For that, I’m deeply grateful to you and the work that you’re doing,  and everyone at Resilient 40 is doing, because it’s just so inspiring. I know that our time is short today, and I just want to say thank you to you, Michael; I want to say thank you to you, Alyssa. For me, and for the Center for Earth Ethics, it just really is an honor to share space and to share these ideas, and to do whatever we can here at the Center to help support and get to where we all want to go. So with that, I want to say, Michael, if you have any last words, please share, and then Alyssa, and we’ll close this out.

MK: I just can’t end this call without highlighting the issues when it comes to ecosystem restoration from an African perspective, because it’s one of the things that we’re trying to push, knowing that so many ecosystems are being degraded across an already-vulnerable continent as Africa. So as we know many human activities affect our natural ecosystems. That’s inclusive of the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the things that we do on a daily. So one-fifth of the world’s land has been degraded. That’s a very big chunk that’s been degraded, and this is going to affect close to 3.2 billion people. These are very big numbers. We’re already making noise about the migration we are seeing. Just imagine 3.2 billion people seeking refuge elsewhere. So there is a need to work together. When it comes to ecosystem restoration—this goes for plants, animals, fungus species that are already extinct—there’s a lot of work, and I’m very glad that countries are working together to improve ecosystems. That’s both for people and nature. 

But the context—I love the context—the context in which such restoration efforts, as well as how things need to be done, we really need to have this very well addressed. Knowing that ecosystems provide us many benefits: storing of carbon, which is very key to the climate crisis that we have and helping us further combat climate change. We understand that healthy ecosystems can still cope and bounce back from natural events as we’ve been seeing elsewhere, which necessitates us working together. As we’ve said, many ecosystems seem to be so damaged to be restored. 

So us young people would advise that we run away from the word “restoration,” but [we use] “rehabilitation” because a lot of the earth right now needs rehabilitation, which the world has not yet probably given more attention to. So for us in Africa, projects like the Great Green Wall—a wall of local plants in 11 countries across the entire width of Africa—is helping us restore close to 100 million hectares of degraded land. That’s within the Sahel region, which is a very dry ecosystem on the edge of the Sahara Desert. So when I see such projects as a young person, it gives me ambition to do more, because it shows that the world is listening. The agency is seen and there is more need for us to work together. 

From my work around ecosystem restoration, we’ve understood that most successful ecosystem restoration projects tend to involve local people: community ownership. There needs to be ownership of these projects that’s inclusive of Indigenous peoples. This is a very big topic: exclusion of people that probably have stuck to their Indigenous knowledge that could help reverse the climate and ecosystems and all these things as we see them before us. We still need to consider towns and cities as ecosystems themselves. It’s important, because I like saying that they cover 1% of the earth, but almost half of the people in the world live in them. 

So there is a need to highlight such issues and see how we fully put this before policymakers as well as the world; to see that we have clean air, clean water and all these things that will help us have very healthy ecosystems. When I talk so much about climate change, ecosystem restoration, of course, I understand that it’s young people that have the most to lose and still the most to gain. It’s the whole reason as to why we advocate for such youth participation and involvement in such restoration efforts across Africa and around the world. [We need to] get to a place where we take on ownership, and seeing how young people can be part of this will really be key. 

One of the highlights I’ve seen over the years I’ve been in this space is—which I would call a red light—is the conflict. We have the conflict of corporate interests that are disguising behind such restoration efforts in the name of carbon credits. So this clearly needs to be highlighted. In the just-ended Africa Climate Action Summit in Nairobi, Nairobi came up with something like the carbon credits market. It’s a bill that we are highly scrutinizing and trying to push back to governments to see how this protects the communities, the local people, the Indigenous people, as opposed to working for the corporate bodies that are looking to sell the carbon credits and will probably become richer. So as we know, such grounds will weaken and lessen community involvement, pushing us back. 

So I’m glad that I’ve been part of this call and of course, I highlight the very highest to the highest importance of ecosystem restorations, and I’m glad that there’s been spaces and conferences around this that have come up with very inclusive policies, that the world needs to tap into and see how we can correct what has been done over the years to a sustainable, livable world that everyone can live and thrive on. 

So thank you so much for having me on this call today, Andrew. I thought I had to air that out because it’s something I see on a daily basis in the African context. Seeing how we can address all these issues will lessen all the migration that we see today, that the world is waking up to the reality of right now, because not so many of these people can live in these lands anymore. Well, the world keeps telling us,”Well, learn to adapt.” But I will tell you, it’s very hard to adapt the vision, as well as to extinction. So you have to find ways to move elsewhere to find green pastures or a livelihood. So these are the dubious, huge migrations we see today. They’ve all been as a result of us overlooking the very important things that we should have probably focused more on, such as ecosystem restorations, and trying to revert the current climate change and crisis as we’ve been seeing them before us. 

AS: I think that is so eloquently said, and so importantly said. It’s true: These things have been overlooked. I think there has been this assumption or just belief that the world will always be and will always provide, and that we haven’t taken care of in the way that we need to. That’s why there’s such an important conversation about relationships, and knowing the place that you are, and appreciating not just the earth for the earth’s self, but appreciating the fact that you are part of this broader ecosystem, and as these ecosystems die, so too will we. So too, will we need to move. So we’ve seen that within the African context, we’re seeing this in the North American context, as well as especially in South and Central America as land degradation due to capitalization, industrialization of the spaces has degraded the land and the water to such a degree that people can’t be there anymore, so they have to move. Then this creates this major climate migration, but we don’t want to call it that, because that’s uncomfortable. It doesn’t fit the classic narratives, nor does it allow us to really point at the actors and the reasons for why these things are happening. 

So I think, as you just so well said, there is this connection of what happens when we restore a place; what happens when we restore ecosystems. People don’t want to leave their homes. I don’t want to leave my home, and this is something that we need to understand. How do we engender this sense of love? How do we understand this belief in place, and the belief and understanding and knowing that it’s not just restoring the world—it’s restoring ourselves and our place in it. As you’ve said, as we grow that attention as young people—I think about my own kids. What do they inherit? So much to lose, so much to gain. So long as we speak about that gain rather than loss, and we look to some sort of aspiration, then we can begin developing these better relationships. So Alyssa, I would love to hand it over to you for any final thoughts that you have on anything.

AN: I just want to echo everything you both just said, it’s incredible. But just picking up on that piece that Michael was really starting about: climate communication. I think it’s just so important—opening spaces for different dialogues. Looking at the disinformation that’s coming out about climate change, and the youth really leading the way by shooting down the false solutions, being very honest about it and just trying to communicate it in a different way. I know climate change seems a little complicated, just because it’s like the greenhouse gasses warm the atmosphere, and then that will change the weather conditions. So it’s more of a logical through-line with very resounding effects—biodiversity loss, it’s right there in your face, you can see the species disappearing. For climate change, this is what happens, [and] is what we can do to solve it. Again, like what you guys were just saying, bringing it back to the individual—self-reflection. How do we gain from it?  And having this optimism—keeping that faith. So that’s what I want to leave it on. Leave it on a good note.

AS: Thank you, Alyssa. And thank you, Michael. Again, it’s just an absolute delight to be able to speak with you both today. I look forward to continuing this conversation–and to continue being in a relationship and community, and seeing all sorts of good trouble that we can get into to make the future what we want it to be. 

Michael Kakande is a passionate certified climate reality leader and climate-induced migration expert, mobilizing youth to lead on nature and climate. He is the founder and chairperson of the Resilient40 (R40), an African youth partnership towards climate resilience on the African continent.

Picture of Alyssa Ng

Alyssa Ng

Alyssa Ng is a research associate at the Center for Earth Ethic. Her work, primarily focused on climate finance, policy and biodiversity, informs programming and content development and supports CEE’s efforts in sustainability and global affairs. She also assists with CEE’s participation with the UN and other partnerships.