Marie-Claire Graf is a Swiss youth advocate for sustainable development and climate action through her engagement in several initiatives around all dimensions of sustainability on a local, national and international level. She believes that youth and future generations are the receiver of today’s decisions, therefore, it is her goal to empower youth to take meaningful actions to create a momentum for change to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and fight the climate crisis and its impact.
In her city, Zurich, she is active in the Student Sustainability Commissions and the Sustainability Week Zurich, the annual sustainability event series which is organized by around 100 students with the aim to transform the higher education sector and establish a sustainability culture. The week consists of a variety of events to raise awareness, demands to drive change and a network to establish meaningful collaborations and connections.
On a national level, she is the president of the Swiss Associations of Student Organizations for Sustainability, which supports students and sustainability at all Swiss higher education institutions. She is representing students in different national and international bodies and committees and speaking frequently at high-level events and the media on sustainability and higher education. She is co-founder and core team member of the Sustainably Week Switzerland, the biggest student sustainability movement in Switzerland, which is spreading the concept of the Sustainability Week Zurich on a national level. From the very beginning she has also been part of the climate strikes in Switzerland and is engaged in the collaboration with politics e.g. the government of Switzerland, parties and politicians to implement the demands and is active in the international Friday’s for Future movement.
Internationally, she is vice president and responsible for international external relations at Swiss Youth for Climate, which committed itself to pragmatic and responsible climate policies both at national and international level. Since UNFCCC COP23, aka world climate conference, she has been part of the Bottom Lining Team of YOUNGO, the official youth constituency to the UNFCCC, especially in the field of climate education, action for climate empowerment and technology transfer and policy. Regularly she is attending UNFCCC conferences and meetings and is advocating for meaningful youth empowerment and unprecedented bold climate action. She is representing the voice of youth at various international high-level events on cross cutting climate issues such as e.g. at the World Health Assembly by WHO, Sustainability in higher education conference by UNESCO, Global Climate Action Summit, ECOSOC Youth Forum, Global Sustainable Technology and Innovation Summit for low-carbon technology transfer. Marie-Claire an active member of the UN Major Group on Children and Youth and is engaged in a lot of cross cutting fields like gender and climate change, education for sustainable development, low carbon technology and youth empowerment.
Furthermore, she is a Climate Reality Leader, trained by Al Gore and is giving presentations, talks and interviews on the climate crisis and what has to be done to fight it. For a European project organized by AEGEE the European Student’s Forum called “Europe on Track” she was traveling six weeks around Eastern Europe to raise awareness about climate change and sustainability and inspire local youth to become drivers of change. Today she is working on improving sustainability within AEGEE and using the force of youth to shift European politics.
Additionally, she is co-founder of an awarded (by ETH, Zurich & MIT, Boston) crowdsourcing platform startup for aggregated science-based and citizen-science data with the aim to empower citizens in urban planning and decision-making trough organized and structured big data for sustainable cities called C’Square.
The various activities for a more sustainable and climate friendly world give her the needed purpose and energy in life. Marie-Claire is challenging the current system and is striving for positive, meaningful and bold actions at all levels to protect our precious planet for the next generation.