H2O Heroes: Uniting for Armenia’s Freshwater Future

In 2019, a group of passionate individuals laid the foundation for ECO Group, envisioning a community united by a shared commitment to environmental stewardship. This vision quickly evolved, and by 2020, we extended our reach beyond the confines of school walls, transforming into a dynamic youth-environmental initiative with a mission to make a tangible and positive impact on the world around us. Our goal was simple but ambitious: to foster a generation of environmentally conscious youth who are empowered to lead and inspire change.

One of our most impactful projects is the H2O Heroes Campaign, an environmental initiative dedicated to World Water Day. This campaign is the result of a powerful collaboration between ECO Group, the Alternative Youth Center, and the “Eco Group” youth-environmental NGO. Together, we aim to combat the pollution of Armenia’s freshwater resources and to raise awareness about the importance of environmental conservation.

The H2O Heroes Campaign is a testament to the power of collaboration in addressing environmental challenges. The campaign involved young activists from Vanadzor (the 3rd largest city in Armenia), aged 16-30, who participated in various stages of the project. During the first phase, participants attended capacity-building trainings on topics such as “Freshwater Pollution and Combating It in Armenia” and “How to Make Visual Creative Postcards.” These trainings equipped them with the knowledge and skills necessary to understand and address the pressing issue of freshwater pollution.

One of the highlights of the campaign was a visit to a water treatment plant. Here, participants had the opportunity to see firsthand the stages water goes through before reaching consumers. This experience was eye-opening for many, as it underscored the complexity and importance of maintaining clean water sources.

In the second phase of the project, participants put their newfound knowledge and skills to use by creating informative postcards. These postcards were designed to raise awareness about the issue of freshwater pollution and to encourage others to take action in combating this problem. The creative process was not only educational but also empowering, as participants saw their efforts materialize into tangible advocacy tools.

“This campaign gave me good friends and a deeper understanding of freshwater issues in Armenia,” says participant Angelina Yeganyan. “It motivated me to work towards a green and clean planet. The knowledge I gained and the friendships I formed are invaluable.”

Another participant, Aram, shares, “I loved this program because it taught me about our ecosystem and sustainability. I also learned to use Canva (a platform for creating viaul content with no design experience) confidently, which I can now apply in other areas of my life. This campaign was an amazing learning experience, and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

The partnership between ECO Group and the Alternative Youth Center for the H2O Heroes Campaign highlights the importance of joint efforts in addressing environmental challenges. By bringing together diverse groups of young people, we are creating a powerful network of environmentally conscious individuals who are equipped to lead the charge in conservation efforts.

“I believe campaigns like these empower and motivate young people to tackle environmental issues creatively,” says Seryan Yenokyan, the President of ECO Group NGO. “The Alternative youth center is a vibrant space where young people can gather, play interesting board games, and brainstorm innovative initiatives. It’s a place filled with youthful, creative energy and a welcoming environment.”

Monika Chilingaryan, the Vice-president of ECO Group NGO, adds, “Alternative has so much warmth and care that you don’t want to leave. It’s a second home for many of us.”

The success of the H2O Heroes Campaign has inspired us to continue our efforts and to expand our reach. We are committed to organizing more environmental campaigns under the umbrella of “Youths4EcoCampaign.” Our aim is to tackle various environmental issues through innovative and collaborative approaches, empowering young people to be the change-makers of tomorrow.

As we look to the future, we remain dedicated to our mission of fostering a generation of environmentally conscious youth. Through continued collaboration and creative initiatives, ECO Group and the Alternative Youth Center are paving the way for a sustainable and greener future. Together, we are not only addressing today’s environmental challenges but also inspiring the leaders of tomorrow to build a better world.


Open Getar River in Yerevan!

“I’m trying to find myself, and I realized that one of the ways to do that is to understand the place where I live and the issues it faces. Activism around issues of Getar River helped me a lot in this regard,” says Anna Karapetyan.

On April 25th, 2024, visual artist Anna-Lea Kopperi together with the members of the Alternative Youth Center held an environmental art happening titled Open Getar River!. The participants walked along the visible and invisible Getar River, inviting the residents of Yerevan to think about the importance of having a river flowing through their city and drawing their attention to the problems of pollution of the river.

Anna is one of the young people who participated in this project, contributing from organizational work to implementation. She was born and grew up in Yerevan but had not heard about Getar’s problems before. Getar, one of the two rivers flowing through Yerevan, was being polluted and litterred for decades. In the 2000s, instead of cleaning it of sewage and garbage, the government decided to close it in tunnels and cover it with asphalted streets and parking lots. The parts of the river that are still open, are badly polluted. This is an important environmental problem not only for the residents living in the areas adjacent to Getar but for all the citizens of Yerevan.

During the walking action, young people wore cloth hats in the shape of fish and held in their hands fishes made of white cloth. This symbol was chosen as a tribute to the fact that years ago the river was full of fish while now rats dominate its ecosystem. For Anna, walking in masks was the most powerful aspect of the action; it kind of emphasized that it doesn’t matter who we are – what’s important is to raise the issue.

“My parents were born in Yerevan, too, but they did not know about Getar’s issues. By participating in this project, I showed my parents what an important idea I was fighting for. I learned a lot and can better inform my friends and relatives now,” Anna notes. “Anyone living in Yerevan should know about the Getar River, as it is one of the most significant elements of our city. And we need to turn it back to a clean and openly flowing river.”

Written by Alisa Harutyunyan, a young member of Alternative Youth Center in Yerevan, Armenia


From a Photography Workshop to Exciting Professional Photography Gigs

Hi, my name is Mbali Radebe, and I consider myself a change maker, poet, content creator, radio presenter, and aspiring project manager. 

I joined Ubuntu Hub in September 2022, and the project has had a significant impact on my growth, both in my interpersonal skills and in my career. As an aspiring project manager, I had the opportunity to collaborate with innovative and brilliant minds towards a common goal. I learned more about the importance of environmental care and mutual support, experienced the power of learning by doing, and, most importantly, had the chance to bring my ideas to life.

One of the standout moments during my time at Ubuntu Hub was the photography workshop held at Braamfontein with “We Are,” featuring Lee-Roy Jason, one of South Africa’s top photographers, as one of the speakers. Following this workshop, Lee-Roy Jason welcomed me as a member of his photography team. This led to photography opportunities on major stages, capturing household names in the South African entertainment industry, and securing collaborations with renowned brands.

Another profoundly impactful event at Ubuntu Hub was “Make Something Week,” held in Braamfontein with a surprise trip to Tembisa. This week-long initiative taught me that anything is possible through collaboration, a willingness to learn and teach, and by gathering the right resources. I gained insights into upcycling and the consequences of consumerism. Being part of the team that orchestrated the entire process, from planning to execution, was an enriching experience, and our team spirit remained strong throughout.

Written by Mbali Radebe


Our Forest, Our Heritage

Dear Environmental Gurus,

What story are you willing to tell in your future? In a world filled with climate anxiety, our feelings, uncertainties, and loss of control are sometimes considered void. It’s easy to feel helpless, but it’s not okay not to care. Growing up as a child, traditional medication was the best cure for minor aches, illnesses, and mental health issues plaguing our communities currently. If not for biodiversity health’s sake, at least let’s do it for humanity. Forest inhabitants deserve shelter that man destroys and exploits without remedy for future generations to come. Here’s a brief account of my journey as a climate justice activist.

Did you know? Every time we open social media, more than half of the world is connected. Television news is bombarded by environmental disasters and our forests are menaced by wildfires, drought, pollution, and invasive species.

Oh, I remember! Growing up in the Grassfields area of Cameroon, in the beautiful, spacious, and evergreen vegetation along the Donga Mantung Plateau, was the best experience of my life. Indigenous people and local communities knew how to deal with hunger, illnesses, and when to plant agricultural products. All this was possible due to the presence of our forest, but today I bleed because these features are fading away.

But here’s the catch: I do remember the forest was the only rich heritage we had. From one generation to the other, they acknowledged its health, food, and security benefits; even the animals rely on it for livelihood. Sadly, I lack words to further explain what we have done and where we have fallen today.

The World Day of Forest brings a lot of nostalgic feelings to many Africans, and I hope even you reading this. Please pause for a minute and reflect deeply. Ask yourself the question: “What have we done to our forest & environment?”

Our actions matter, and we should avoid being eco-paralytic. We do not need a diploma to act. What I do is support organizations working for forest conservation, sensitize my communities on eco-friendly methods, or plant more trees locally.

Even when centuries pass, our works will be remembered. You really just need to care. So, I’m starting with the person in the mirror—that’s you. And as Theodore Roosevelt said, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

So, do we really care? 


Harnessing Youth Innovation at Ubuntu Hub: Driving Climate Advocacy on Earth Day

As we mark another Earth Day, the urgency of addressing climate change has never been clearer. From rising temperatures to extreme weather events, the impacts of climate change are being felt around the world. In this pivotal moment, it is essential to harness the creativity and innovation of young people to drive climate advocacy and propel meaningful action. In this blog, we will explore the role of youth innovation and creativity at Ubuntu Hub in promoting climate advocacy, and how their fresh perspectives can inspire transformative change.

Young people possess a unique ability to think outside the box, challenge the status quo, and envision a better future. Their fresh creative perspectives, coupled with their proficiency in technology and social media, make them powerful agents of change in the fight against climate change. By harnessing their creativity and innovation through art, we can unlock new solutions to address the complex challenges posed by climate change and accelerate progress towards a more sustainable world.

Art has long been a powerful tool for raising awareness and inspiring action on social and environmental issues. Through visual arts, music, poetry, and other forms of creative expression, young artists at Ubuntu Hub are shining a spotlight on the impacts of climate change and calling for urgent action. Whether it is through powerful murals, thought-provoking poems, or stirring music performances, art can convey the urgency of the climate crisis in ways that resonate deeply with people of all ages.

Moreover, education is key to empowering young people to become effective advocates for climate action. By integrating climate ideologies, sustainability, and environmental justice into Ubuntu Hub programs, we equip youth with the knowledge, skills, and values they need to understand the complexities of climate change and engage in meaningful advocacy efforts. Hands-on learning experiences, training programs, and workshops, and youth-led initiatives are invaluable in nurturing the next generation of climate leaders.

As we celebrate Earth Day and reflect on the state of our planet, let us harness the power of youth innovation and creativity to drive climate advocacy and accelerate progress towards a sustainable future. By empowering young people to use their voices, talents, and ideas to advocate for climate action, we can inspire transformative change and build a more resilient world for generations to come. Together, let us stand with youth around the world and commit to taking bold and decisive action to address the climate crisis.

Happy Earth Day!

By Kutloano Ramotshela


Planet vs Plastics: Earth Day 2024

Why do we need to talk about plastics?

Plastics pervades our existence! From habitats to bodies, driven by profit, disproportionately impacting poor nations through waste colonialism. Plastic production is in fact a human rights violation since the people and the most marginalized communities who have contributed the least to the escalating planetary crisis are affected the most.

Did you know that over 99% of plastics are made of fossil fuels? Petrochemical companies promote plastics as cheap, but their true cost includes biodiversity loss, human health risks, and climate impact.

The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) has started to negotiate on a legally binding plastic treaty that will include the whole life-cycle of plastic. However we demand that this treaty involves the most marginalized communities in the decision making process, to ensure that their health and safety are prioritized over plastic pollution.

So the simple answer to why we need to talk about plastic is: it can never be a part of a sustainable and just development. Companies try to greenwash by stating that plastic and planetary wellbeing can be combined – but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

We demand policies that prioritize the health and safety of communities and wellbeing of the planet and future generations over the profit of petrochemical companies.

Support the planet in the battle against plastics by signing this petition for a strong Global Plastics Treaty!

And – go out on the streets and organize yourself because we are the change!

Video created by Planet One Youth


Reclaiming Our Future

A few youths climbed over a fence and pulled up a ladder. The sunbeams hit the blue sky, and the wind was still. One after another, they climbed onto a big oil truck and pulled out a large banner that read, “Oil and fossil fuel are killing current and future generations.”

Olga, a youth climate activist, began her engagement in the newly built movement called “Reclaim the Future.” The purpose behind the movement is to use peaceful civil disobedience and direct action to highlight the urgent triple planetary crisis. Reclaim the Future describes itself as a movement by young people, for young people—a radical community committed to taking care of each other and peacefully standing against the industries that threaten our chances for life: the fossil fuel industries.

The driving force behind Olga’s engagement, as she herself notes, is “Since the situation is so urgent, we need to use all possible tools to prevent a disaster, and I wanted to try to make as much difference as possible.” Reclaim the Future stands out from other climate youth movements in Sweden since we direct our actions primarily at the fossil fuel industry, but also because we have as a foundational pillar to take care of each other.

Many climate justice activists today risk burnout, and therefore, we need to take care not only of the earth but also ourselves. Olga has learned throughout the years that the fight for climate justice is not a short sprint but rather a long marathon—a commitment that requires both sustainability and community. We cannot burn ourselves at both ends as our politicians do by not acting while the earth is covered in flames. We need to rest simply to navigate this crisis, and no one should feel guilty about that—because when one person rests, there are others out there who can take over. Community is central to building resilience for us as a movement and individuals, and it is also a central part of building holistic well-being for all living things, including the earth.

Momentum in Stockholm has enabled us to create just that—a welcoming and safe space for our community to flourish. We have painted banners ahead of actions, made community meals, held workshops about climate justice and wellbeing, played board games, and simply rested. The most valuable contribution that Momentum has provided our movement with is the fact that it’s a space where our activism is not challenged or questioned; rather, it is encouraged and celebrated. 

Olga’s first impression when stepping into Momentum was, “This is a place that exists for us and exists here to support us.” Olga also said that if someone wants to become active, it is nice to have a safe space to introduce them to, like Momentum. You don’t have to do things yourself; there is a community of people welcoming you. We are stronger together, and we also have a lot of fun. Activism is about fighting a lot, but it’s also about enjoying and celebrating the small wins. The only way to keep doing this for as long as it’s needed is by surrounding yourself with people who support each other and are willing to think outside the frames of the current system. Momentum helps us envision another future, where we are not fighting a war against earth and humanity, but rather living in peace.

Hours often pass by when sitting upon the oil tanks, but once again, you are capable of doing that thanks to your community. The fight will need to go on, but we know that it will be worth it in the end. And after actions, we know that we can go back to Momentum, reload our batteries, and breathe out.

Story provided by Momentum, Stockholm, Sweden


My Path to Artistic Advocacy

My journey started when I was introduced to Ubunifu Hub by a friend through our youth group, “Hatua kwa Hatua”. Little did I know that it would become the guiding light for my journey. The passionate trainers at the hub opened my eyes to the critical issue of climate change advocacy, igniting a curiosity within me that I never knew existed.

As I delved into this new knowledge, I discovered a creative pathway that merged my passion for art with my newfound understanding of climate change. The resources available at the hub allowed me to evolve and enhance my artistic skills, propelling me to new heights of creativity and expression.

One of the pivotal moments in my journey was the opportunity to participate in the ‘I Hummingbird Effect’ campaign led by Tracy Makheti. I created a captivating puzzle art piece and an impactful painting. These works not only showcased my talent but also sparked positive conversations and dialogues on the pressing issue of climate change. Through the campaign, I gained the confidence to continue my journey as an artivist.

The impact of my art extended beyond local borders when I was given the opportunity to travel to Sweden for a youth exchange program. There, I not only gained invaluable knowledge but also shared my artistic gifts with fellow youth from other Planet One hubs, fostering growth in my career as a self-taught artist. Throughout this transformative journey, the team at Ubunifu Hub has been my unwavering support system, providing a nurturing space where creativity flourishes. Their guidance has not only shaped my artistic endeavors but has also empowered me to become a better advocate for change.

I want to express my deep gratitude to Ubunifu Hub for being my stepping stone to my purpose. Your dedication to teaching and advocacy has been instrumental in shaping my journey as an artistic SDG activist. Through your guidance, I have found my voice and passion for climate stories, and I have been able to network with like-minded individuals who have further impacted my life.

Denzel’s beautiful artworks

Your commitment to nurturing talent and giving support has inspired me to educate my community through edu murals that emphasize the importance of climate advocacy and mitigation. The skills and knowledge I have gained from you have empowered me to make a meaningful difference in the world around me.

Thank you for the profound impact you have had on my life. Your unwavering support, constructive feedback, and belief in my potential have helped me grow not only as an artist but as a person. Your mentorship has instilled in me a sense of confidence, creativity, and a lifelong love for learning.

Denzel’s beautiful artworks

I am truly grateful for the countless hours you have dedicated to teaching and guiding me. Your patience, kindness, and genuine care for your students have left an indelible mark on my heart. Thank you for being an exceptional teacher, a mentor, and a friend.

Today, I stand as a testament to the transformative power of art and advocacy, all thanks to the profound impact of patience, hope, and hard work.

Denzel Juma, Young Member, Ubunifu Hub, Nairobi, Kenya


Ida’s Environmental Law Journey with Aurora and Momentum

When Ida first stepped into Momentum, she was taken aback by the space’s beauty and warmth. It resembled a cozy living room, tailored for climate activists. On one wall, her friend Smilla, an artist and fellow member of Aurora, had painted a map adorned with various people holding signs and messages. It felt like a declaration: “This is a space for climate activists plotting to transform the world.” Momentum became a second home for both Aurora and Ida.

Her introduction to Momentum came through their generous offer to let Aurora utilize their rooms for meetings and events. This support was instrumental in organizing banner workshops, board meetings, and celebratory events. Furthermore, Momentum provided a hub for interaction with other young climate movements and activists, fostering solidarity and creating a rare safe space in Stockholm.

Ida’s involvement with Aurora began with her passion for nature, which evolved into a drive to combat the looming climate crisis. She found inspiration in the Urgenda case, where citizens sued their government over inadequate action against global warming. This led to the formation of Auroramålet, a youth-led organization that initiated Sweden’s first systematic climate case against the government. In Aurora, Ida serves as both spokesperson and scientific coordinator, deeply engaged in the organization’s legal efforts.

Aurora’s landmark lawsuit against the Swedish government on November 25, 2022, marked a pivotal moment. The atmosphere buzzed with anticipation at Mynttorget, where the demonstration commenced. Amidst the crowd and media frenzy, Ida hurried from an interview with Sweden’s prominent public broadcasting service. The march’s destination was Nacka tingsrätt, where the lawsuit would be filed. As they arrived, the board members delivered a powerful speech, signaling the beginning of a significant legal battle.

While Aurora awaits the highest court’s response, Ida remains driven by a mix of rage and love. She sees the exploitation of ecosystems, humans, plants, and animals as a grave threat, yet finds hope in the life worth protecting. Her advice to those considering engagement with Momentum or the fight for climate justice is simple: “Join! Civic engagement is not only crucial for the planet’s future but can also be enjoyable.”

As Ida leaves Momentum, she smiles, grabbing a banner collectively designed by the group. For her, this is just the beginning of a journey. Having graduated as a lawyer, she looks forward to dedicating her life to environmental issues and justice. Her ambition extends to creating a global climate litigation network, uniting countries and youth movements in holding governments accountable for their inaction.

Ida’s story resonates globally, showcasing how dedication and legal activism can pave the way for a more just and sustainable world.

Story provided by Momentum, Stockholm, Sweden