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




Climate change is the most defining issue of our time. It is close to impossible to say that an individual exists without having faced the impacts of climate change, whether directly or indirectly. One of the unseen impacts it has come with has been on our mental health. Climate change is here with us and is here to stay for a very long time. Unfortunately, it is not something that we can also just wish away. This also means that its spill-over effects might also be longer and even keep recurring.

The climate crisis has forced most of us to come face to face with our fears, the most prevailing ones being the fear of the unknown and chronophobia: the fear of the future. More young people are quickly trapped in the cycle of trying to find solutions for the climate crisis and the mental exhaustion that it comes with. The ones who are not in denial, live in a state of ecophobia, and feel too helpless to even do anything.

Additionally, local communities that have lost their livelihoods, heritage, and culture have to deal with the feeling of irreversible loss. As they stare into the blankness of an uncertain future, they wallow in solastalgia: the feeling of loss when communities are faced with great loss due to climate change. All they can do is reminisce about how the world was and imagine how it would have been. For them, the climate crisis becomes more of an issue of survival.

In African society, mental health was rarely spoken of, with only extreme visible forms of it like madness considered as such. Luckily, it is now a conversation in public spaces, and it is getting the attention it should. This has opened up spaces for people to raise their voices and find solutions through story sharing, movement building, and being part of meaningful movements.

There are many ways to deal with climate anxiety, but the most effective one still remains connecting with nature. Nature still shapes our lives even in the middle of a technological revolution. And yet, our answers in the green spaces are slowly shrinking. This calls us to action: to act in our small way to save the planet. We fix the climate, we fix us.

By Barbra Kangwana, Youth Team Lead, Ubunifu Hub