Her mission was given a new urgency by heavy floods that have displaced more than a million people across South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia and parts of Uganda – a region heavily dependent on agriculture.
“The present is catastrophic and the future is scary and very unpredictable,” she told Reuters. “Ecosystems are collapsing.”
The floods are linked to a seasonal weather variation that scientists say has been exacerbated by climate change. Warmer seas mean more water in the atmosphere and more rain, and near-surface temperatures in Uganda are also on the rise.
“It is literally a matter of life and death,” Nakate said, as lightning streaked across dark clouds behind her.
For her, the climate change debate often ignores voices from developing countries bearing the brunt of fallout caused by more industrialized nations – a topic at the heart of Friday’s global protests.
“The world was so focused on the California fires,” she said. “When California was burning, communities in Africa were flooding – but where was the attention?” (Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Katharine Houreld and John Stonestreet)