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The Spice Warrior and her Green War (YOUNG CLIMATE ACTIVIST SERIES)

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

Drought is increasingly common in the Maa communities of East Africa. For 22-year-old Anita Soina, however, drought was simply part of growing up. The realisation that this was not "normal" led her to launch her organisation, Spice Warriors and then publish a book *The Green War*. She is determined to ensure that in the war on climate change, "no one gets left behind".

By Mical Imbukwa, bird story agency

“The thing that discourages many people, especially those who don’t have the environment conservation background, is the terminologies used to convey information," says environmentalist Anita Soina.

So, to try and break it down, she wrote an easy-to-understand book, “The Green War.”

Written for "the next generation" the idea was to reassure young people that they are not alone, in case they find the challenge now facing humanity way too daunting to deal with, psychologically.

Anita Soina during the launch of her book "The Green War". (Photo Credits : Anita Soina)

The book, she says, came about after realizing she had to reach more people than through online engagement and her organisation, Spice Warriors, started in 2018. According to the political enthusiast and graduate of Multi Media University, Spice Warriors is an initiative whose membership comprises mostly of "ordinary" members of society who have no previous knowledge of environmental or conservation issues.

“This way, I try to open people to the fact that they don’t have to leave their careers to pursue environmental courses to be environmentally conscious. When I was starting, I didn’t have a conservation background. I took time to educate myself,” she explains.

One of the most effective ways to mobilise communities and inspire action, she found, was through planting trees.

Anita Soina with a young girl, posing for a picture after a tree planting session. (Photo Credits : Anita Soina)

“Our focus is on impact. To ensure that when we go to communities to plant trees, we leave them with the culture of tree planting, and it becomes a ripple effect,” Soina notes.

Even as she pushed her climate agenda, however, Soina faced challenges. One was the lack of environmentally conscious leaders in parliament. So she decided to vie for office as MP for Kenya's Kajiado North region, on a green platform.

While she was unsuccessful, she believes that just the act of standing raised awareness of the issues behind climate change and the need to mobilise communities, act presciently and invest in adaptive behaviour. It also raised the issue of misuse of resources.

Anita Soina holding up a sign against tree cutting. (Photo Credits : Anita Soina)

“The other issue has to do with resources. Many of us are trying to do environmental projects with little or no resources, yet we see a lot of misuse of resources happening, whereas many grassroots projects need to be supported,” says Soina.

With a presence in South Sudan and Tanzania, the young activist is looking to expand the reach of Spice Warriors.

Her dream is to see teams of environmentally conscious people - specifically, people without a background in environment or conservation - coming together to create a generation of leaders in the climate space. And, she says, her political drive is only just getting started.

Anita Soina posing for a picture. (Photo Credits : Anita Soina)

“I am in talks with many environmentalists in Uganda and Germany who have run on green platforms before so that we can see more voices for the climate going for political seats with the aim of changing the narrative within corridors of power,” she states.

Climate change, she says, "is real and is no longer a 2070 thing". Her Spice Warriors "should serve as a wake-up call to the young people to fight for a course, to make the world a better place for all of us to live in." The key thing for her, is that young people feel they can do this together. In this war against climate change, she is determined that no one gets left behind.

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