Bold & Resolute: Leading & Telling my Story Differently

Kaluki Paul Mutuku

My name is Kaluki Paul Mutuku, and I come from the east African country of Kenya. I have a background in environmental conservation and natural resources management from the University of Nairobi. I am an environmental and climate leader, and I use my voice and my actions to inspire meaningful youth engagement. 

Since childhood, I have enjoyed every moment I’ve had out in the forest and planting trees. In high school, as an environmental student leader, I took the lead in growing trees and crops and organised several environmental events. On campus, I took a great interest in environmental advocacy, which led me to the Africa Youth Initiative on Climate Change – Kenya, and subsequently to Kenya. At Kenya, I served as a   communications lead, where I actively coordinated advocacy for the #deCOAlonize campaign, which sought to stop a 1050MW coal-fired power plant from being built in Kenya’s Lamu town. Through organising community discussions, art exhibitions, workshops, and climate debates, I have strategically had my foot in climate action since 2015. After forming a project called Green Treasures Farms, I am now co-leading the implementation of school gardens (KEAN Bustani Gardens) through one of my organisations, Kenya Environmental Action Network (KEAN). We work with schools and communities to foster conservation education through experiential learning that exposes learners to practical ways of organic farming, growing tree nurseries, and leading in restoration works.

I believe in storytelling. Storytelling has shaped human culture for generations, and stories from experiences, events, and ideas create lasting records for humanity, and for the natural world. So for me, storytelling is vital, as everyone’s story must count. I do not want my story to be heard, I need it to be heard. I believe that all of us have stories that can inspire and impact the world for the better – I need to hear others’ stories, and they need to hear mine as well. I need my story heard because of my unique experience with climate change issues, the community mobilizing I have led, and the transformation I have seen over the course of my journey. If I do not tell my story, then who will?

My story is intersectional because I was raised by a single mother, and came from a great village life into the city for higher learning, and a better career. Because of this, and the various life experiences that this has given me, I view every different issue as a part of the bigger picture. As everything is so linked, I cannot claim to be a climate advocate and at the same time not a champion for human rights. Intersectionality makes my climate story complete.

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