In our ‘Envision Virgin Racing Meets…’ blog series, we catch up with some of the most influential names in climate action and e-mobility. We ask quick-fire questions to discover their inspirations, their motivations and what’s got them feeling hopeful for the future.
To kick things off, we spoke to the 17-year-old British environmental activist and youth leader in the Fridays For Future movement, Elijah Mckenzie-Jackson.
Elijah is one of the most influential Gen-Z activists and is perhaps most well known for his recent hunger strike at the proposed coal mine in West Cumbria, where he hoped to draw attention to the impact of fossil fuels on the planet. He’s currently at the forefront of UK climate action, calling for the decarbonisation of society and putting pressure on the Government to ensure the Paris climate targets are met, and exceeded.
As a leading figure in the Fridays For Future movement, Elijah is on a mission to achieve climate justice by striking for the future and inspiring people all over the world. And the best part? The group has already inspired over 14 million people in 7,500 cities!
With COP26 around the corner, we caught up with Elijah to discover the outcomes he’s hoping for and how we can maximise its impact…
“My favourite Fridays For Future moment has to be the COP25 climate strike, which saw over half a million people all fighting for a fair and livable future. With COP26 0happening later in the year, I would not say I’m excited about it as it is pretty depressing that young people are essentially forced to organise and lobby for a future. However, I would say I am eager to see real change and action from our so-called leaders. I’d like to see real action, following science, while treating climate change like the crisis it really is.”
So with 2021 looking to be a hugely important year for climate action, we wanted to hear what Elijah’s views were on how we move away from our reliance on fossil fuels and decarbonise our society…
“My view is that we need to listen to the scientists and professionals. I am only a megaphone for the truth and the evidence, which is being presented by scientists and ignored by governments.
“The UK needs 50% of vehicles on the roads to be electric in order to stick to their climate commitments, up from 6% at the moment. We must decarbonize the travel sector if we are to stick to carbon targets.”
We couldn’t agree more. The sale of regular combustion vehicles is being banned around the world, and countries are placing greater focus on the switch to electric vehicles. The transition to e-mobility is vital in meeting the targets set at the Paris Climate Accord and halting climate breakdown.
So what else keeps Elijah feeling inspired and motivated to act? If it’s not David Attenborough documentaries or long walks in nature, it’s the youth movement. This is the thing that gives him hope for the planet.
… and his favourite quote comes from one of the world’s most influential activists who inspired and mobilised the youth movement:
“No one is too small to make a difference” – Greta Thunberg.
Find out more about Elijah, and follow his journey with Fridays For Future here, and Keep an eye out for the next blog in this series where we meet another incredible leader in the climate action and e-mobility space.