I am a young environmentalist because I want to make a positive difference to the earth. I worry about what lies ahead for our planet. Future generations will have to deal with the consequences of the choices that we are making today. Although I don’t consider myself a tree hugger, I do love to hug trees every so often!

When I heard the definition of sustainable development for the first time, I thought ‘this is the solution to our problems, meeting our needs without compromising future generations needs’. Shortly after, I realised that this idea of a sustainable world is not being implemented effectively in most countries around the world, including Ireland. This motivated me to make changes on an individual level.

While the effects of Covid 19 have disrupted many parts of our lives, taking positive environmental action is not one of them. I am continuing to work as a Youth Sustainable participant with ECO-UNESCO, an environmental education and youth organisation, and with ECO-UNESCO’s eco at home initiatives, I can continue to take positive action while at home. Even during these uncertain times, we need to continue to be environmentally conscious and use this time to continue environmental education.

I am inspired by people like Rachel Carson that brought positive change and raised awareness about environmental issues. Over the past 2 years, I have read and learnt a lot about the global environmental crisis. I have noticed changes like more frequent storms and hotter summers, but our quality of life will be much worse if we continue as we are now. Although the future can seem very overwhelming, our generation has the ability to make the world a sustainable place for future generations to live. If we make a collective effort to change, I believe that it is possible to have a positive impact on the environment on a global level.

The environment is the air we breathe, the water that we drink and the land that we live on. It is our lifeline and we depend on it. The destruction of the environment will inhibit the planet’s ability to support life for us, our children, and many more generations.

I also worry for animals and how they will adapt to a problem that they have no control over. Many species are endangered or vulnerable and habitat loss will not help this issue. For example, polar bears live on sea ice. Polar bears rely on the ice so that they can hunt seals, their main source of food. As the ice melts, the polar bears can’t catch seals and are starving to death.

Many of my memories from growing up involve nature. Swimming in the sea, walking on the beach and spending time in forests. This is how I would like future generations to remember their childhood, not smog and extreme weather events. Now is the time for change.

Even during these uncertain times, I will continue to work towards achieving our sustainable development goals with ECO-UNESCO. Taking positive environmental action can be done at home and every action counts.

Overall, I am a young environmentalist because we are not separate from the environment, we are part of it. The future of earth is depending on us. As Dr. Suess says ‘I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees’.

You can read Lauren’s article in the Irish Examiner here > https://bit.ly/2B5NtYg