Green is the new Black

By Quenjule Slaven. 29 May 2017, 12:00AM

Past, present and future.  

Three simple words yet with three very different meanings.  But what we must come to understand is that their fate is all intertwined to ours. 

That plastic bag you threw away yesterday in the ocean, is destroying our very planet today and will still be here tomorrow, harming every living creature in the ocean.

Climate change is such a big issue in today’s world.  Time and time again we hear people moan about the change in weather because of global warming.  But how many of us actually do something about it. 

Ask yourself, “What can little old me do about it?”  Well one of my favourite sayings comes from the Dr Seuss story-The Lorax, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”  

We have the power in our very hands.  We are the innovators, the inventors and the problem solvers.  We must learn from our mistakes from the past and act today to solve the problem for a brighter future.  Try by conserving electricity and water or take your own shopping bag when you go to the supermarkets.  Everybody must take responsibility, we must make life just a little bit easier.  

Last month, I was selected to participate in the Sir Peter Blake Trust for Y.E.L.F.  

Peter Blake was known for his saying, “Good water, good life.”  Following Sir Peter Blake’s passion for marine conservation, we got the chance to snorkel the pristine waters of Goat Island.  What this programme does, is to inspire young leaders into action to look at what local issues we have around our communities, especially the marine environment. 

I learned to become connected with the environment just by swimming with the fish and spending time with people who have a passion for saving our beautiful planet. 

Through this experience I found a new appreciation for the marine riches of our world and renewed determination to protect them because in Samoa, the ocean is our livelihood.  

When I first arrived at the Sir Peter Blake programme, I met new people and visited new places.  I did not know what my role as a delegate meant. I was clueless.  Now I am filled with wonderful memories of fun and laughter but most importantly, motivation and inspiration.

Throughout the programme I experienced many recreational activities that have a huge impact on our knowledge and passion about the environment. 

I have been taught how to be empowered to become a good leader no matter how big or small the difference we make in our world.  I have met some awesome people.  I have had the opportunity to go out there and express my opinions and share my efforts as an enviro leader.    

In this programme, I realised the need to protect our marine life, our rivers and rainforests.  There will be no food or resources left because our Earth, believe it or not, has a limit. 

Majestic trees, clean water and amazing wildlife were there in the time of our ancestors and our parents, and continue to be here now, but what about those who come after us?  Companies all over the world, are charging through our planet for economic gain. 

Every year, we have been contributing four billion tonnes of carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere. It is compromising and crippling our health, our environment, our economy, our lifestyle and most importantly our future on this planet.  

One way to help with climate change is to have a greener education taught in our curriculum so we can increase the awareness of what’s happening to our environment.  This will be the only way to make our generation more environmentally informed. 

Or have environmental workshops readily available to anybody within the community.  Or promote environmentally responsible businesses so greed is not an option by extracting resources faster than they are being renewed.  A drop of water is worth more than a sack of gold to a thirsty man.        

I would like to thank every individual who made this leadership forum possible and every member of the Sir Peter Blake Trust and of course our fantastic chaperones – Bhakti and Nina, for this wonderful opportunity. 

The only way to honour all this hard work is take what I have learned and share it with you all.  I am currently setting up a compost bin at my school to reduce the daily consumption we use every day. 

Environment information should be easily accessible and it needs to start in our schools.  We have the potential as a country to lead the world in facing and solving environmental issues.  Now is the time to lead.  We are tomorrow’s leaders.   Putting passion into our action is what it’s all about. 

This programme has really opened my eyes and showed me that there is more to life than just being at home watching television and playing video games.  Saving our world should not be a chore.

I will continue to share the amazing things which I have learned from this programme at school, in my community and by just raising awareness in general and act on it.  So often we have these fantastic experiences in seminars, workshop and meetings. 

We get together and talk about what we learn and get these fantastic ideas, and then what happens?  We go home, we forget or we stop doing what we set out to do.

Peter Blake was a man of deeds not words.  So my challenge to you when you are done reading this is, “What will you do to save our planet?”  Don’t tell us, but show us.  I have this belief that we can achieve great things.

By Quenjule Slaven. 29 May 2017, 12:00AM

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