In Summary
  • The activist is best known for assembling the broad stakeholder consultations bringing together government, private sector and civil society leaders that finally saw the Climate Change Act enacted by Parliament in 2016.

Renowned climate change activist Mithika Mwenda who has led civil society campaigns opposing government plans to set up a coal power plant in Lamu has been recognised for his environmental conservation efforts.

Mr Mwenda, the executive director of Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), has been selected for the prestigious Sierra Club’s Earth Care Award 2019 for his significant contribution to international environmental protection and conservation.

The activist is best known for assembling the broad stakeholder consultations bringing together government, private sector and civil society leaders that finally saw the Climate Change Act enacted by Parliament in 2016.

The Climate Change Act mainstreams mitigation of global warming in Kenya’s development plans.

Mr Mwenda said he was overjoyed by the nomination and that it would energise his resolve to continue fighting to accord loud voices to those at the front-line of addressing the climate crisis.

 “This is not a singular honour but the recognition of the great work by thousands of PACJA members and partners in shaping fair, just and equitable climate policies and action in Africa and globally,” he said.

According to a statement released by PACJA, Mr Mwenda will be presented with the award for his climate justice activism at a ceremony to be held on September 14 at the Marriott Oakland City Center in Oakland, California, United States.

Sierra Club, the US-based lobby group, presents the Earth Care Award annually to honour individuals or organisations that make unique contribution to international environmental protection and conservation.

 “You were nominated for this award by the Sierra Club’s International Environmental Justice Team in recognition of your work with the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA),” Ellen Davis, the Sierra Club Honours and Awards Committee chair, wrote to Mr Mwenda in a congratulatory message. The award comes barely two weeks after the controversial Lamu coal project was stopped by the National Environment Tribunal in a landmark case.

Mr Mwenda said he was overjoyed by the nomination and that it will energise his resolve to continue fighting to accord loud voices to those at the frontline of climate crisis.

“This is not a singular honour but the recognition of the great work by thousands of PACJA members and partners in shaping fair, just and equitable climate policies and action in Africa and globally,” he said.

During the One planet summit co-hosted in Nairobi by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in February, Mr Mwenda was a key voice in pushing for climate innovation in sustainable business models, climate smart agriculture, green bonds, and renewable energy.

In March this year, the activist was also named one of the world’s top 100 most influential people on climate policy by Apolitical, a London based network that ranks global leaders in various fields based on the best governance practices.

The list included renowned global climate campaigners like Pope Francis, former US Vice president Al Gore and Bloomberg CEO Michael Bloomberg, among other leaders.

Other notable figures include, Patricia Espinosa the executive secretary of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Anthony Nyong is the director of Climate Change and Green Growth at the African Development Bank, Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko a leading African Agronomist and the commissioner for rural economy and agriculture of the African Union Commission, Mohammed Adjei Sowah the mayor of Accra, Ghana's capital and US Senator Bernie Sanders, among several government ministers from across the world.

Mr. Mwenda, a PhD student at Wits School of Governance in South Africa, represents the African civil society in the committee of the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and also chairs the Collaboration Platform of Climate Research for Development in Africa.