On March 10, 2019, Connect4Climate lost a beloved friend and true climate leader in Max Thabiso Edkins, who was aboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 when it crashed near Addis Ababa. Aged just 35 years, Max brought creative verve to every aspect of his climate advocacy, and never stopped striving to make the world a better place.
A national of both Germany and South Africa, Max was en route to Nairobi, Kenya for the United Nations Environment Assembly and One Planet Summit, acting as Communications Officer for Connect4Climate. An optimist and dreamer at heart, Max was the perfect embodiment of C4C’s mission to spread climate literacy and promote sustainable development. His focus was always on inspiring real action.
With a background in environmental science, Max was a natural communicator, well known within the international climate change community for his positive energy and enthusiasm. His infectious sense of humor and warm smiles won him many friends, from seasoned climate scientists and policymakers to the youth leaders he worked so hard to include in international dialogue.
“We were devastated to learn that we lost a cherished colleague in the plane crash in Ethiopia,” said Kristalina Georgieva, Interim President of the World Bank Group. “Max was deeply committed to the fight against climate change, and he brought tremendous creativity, energy and passion to his work. Our deepest sympathies go to his family and loved ones, and to those of the other victims of this tragedy."
Max is survived by his wife Astrid and young son, and his loving brother and parents. All around the world, countless others lament the loss of a friend, colleague and role model.
Max’s memory will forever shine bright.
We invite readers to share personal reflections on Max's life here.