Class of 2021
Agriculture is one of the sectors most at risk from climate change. Jhannel Tomlinson realised this early on as she grew up in rural Jamaica, but there was something she couldn’t understand: if young people were aware of the climate change issue, why weren’t they playing an active role in reducing its impact?
This question would come to define Jhannel’s work and passion. The decision to become an activist was a by-product of her mission. As a co-founder of Young People for Action on Climate Change Jamaica (YPACC), she started to offer guidance and training to youth groups, showing them how their actions would impact tomorrow’s weather as well as their families’ farm yields, livelihoods and wellbeing. Next, she got involved with the International Women in Coffee Alliance in Jamaica (JAWiC), which empowers all women in the coffee industry – from farmers to vendors and baristas – through training and recognition, fighting for a future where women have equal access to resources and the benefits of their labour.
As well as building the next generation of female leaders in the coffee industry, through her academic research Jhannel is finding new ways to help Jamaican farmers access climate-smart agricultural training and thus secure a better, more sustainable future. And as Jamaica’s representative for Youth Climate Change Activists, she is expanding her activism to the whole Caribbean region.
“Knowledge is power. Being able to offer what I have learnt about climate change and agriculture to those who need the information is one of my contributions to the rural farmers of Jamaica.” – Jhannel Tomlinson