Ever since I was young, I loved being outside. Every weekend my mam would take my siblings and I to the beach or the park or a forest. After school I would go out with my friends and play outside. I loved animals and took out library books on different species and watched documentaries. I am a young environmentalist because I can’t imagine other children growing up without similar memories.

As I got older, I researched and learned lots about the environment and climate change. I loved the idea of sustainability. I am a young environmentalist because I want to promote the idea of sustainability for our future generations so that we have a planet to live on. We only have one home, one chance, and we are messing it up spectacularly. I am constantly worrying about the damage that we are doing to our own habitat, consciously, and with disregard for anyone who thinks differently about industry and the economy. I speak collectively, using ‘we’, as everyone shares the same home, yet some people are living polar opposite lives.

I am a young environmentalist because I think it is unfair that the people who are being affected most by climate change are contributing to it the least amount, namely the countries nearest the equator. Human activity is ruining animals’ natural habitat whether it is through deforestation or melting ice caps. Many species are losing their homes and becoming endangered. I am a young environmentalist because I think it is wrong that our selfish actions are negatively impacting other species.

I found it so hard to get my head around the fact that we could work against climate change whenever we wanted but that it’s not happening because of the obsession with economic growth and other selfish reasons. Yes, the Paris Agreement was written up, but countries aren’t meeting these goals. The government would rather promote industry and pollution over the fact that we are in a climate emergency. I needed to do something, to take action, to give myself hope that the future is worth working towards. I am a young environmentalist because I want control over my own life.

When I joined Youth for Sustainable Development, I learned about Sustainable Development Goals. I loved this idea, as the goals aim to make drastic changes by 2030. These involve issues like poverty, inequalities, pollution, fast fashion and endangered animals. I am a young environmentalist because I am not yet happy with the world I live in, and I want to be part of the change. And these SDGs are part of the change. I am trying to implement these goals in my daily life and trying to get others to as well. Whether that just be small things like recycling, picking up litter, only shopping at second-hand stores or empowering minorities. If everyone did small steps like these, the world would be a better place. I am a young environmentalist because I want to encourage people to be the change they want to see in the world.

You can read Micheala’s article in the Irish Examiner here> https://bit.ly/3fugkV1