Passion for the environment strong in Fagali’i youth

You don’t need to look far to find the future of any nation. It is right in front of us  – our young people.

As Environment Week ended, Theresa Iosefo and Ulalei Viali from Fagali’i Primary School, are shining examples of leadership and the future.

The two are urging people to protect the environment recognising that people and nature are interdependent.

“Everything that surrounds us that has life, is green. Green means life to us. We need to protect the trees,” they said.

Ulalei pointed out that if people continue to cut down trees there will be no air and life for human beings and animals, because we rely on the trees to survive.

The Samoa Observer was able to talk to the two young girls who were given awards during the Environment Week for their contribution through their artistic work portraying their own understanding of the environment.

In this art competition organised by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E.), these young girls shared that the core message behind their drawings was to point out the importance of trees.

“The picture that I drew, describes the roots of the trees that are holding the soil together. Trees play a vital in trying to hold the soil from eroding. The environment plays a vital role in terms of the trees and plants. 

“It is a must to protect the trees because we get our shelter from the trees and not only that, but we get food from the plants too such as taro or yam,” said Theresa.

On the other hand Ula’s drawing is based on the natural resources, the importance of not cutting down trees and she wanted to draw a picture that portrayed the conserving of water and the natural resources.

These two Year 7 students believe our actions are the cause of climate change which destroys our environment. They have noticed this change through their love of mangoes.

“We love the mango tree because its fruits are tasty and we would do anything to protect it. As you can see now, it is rare that we have any mangoes, usually in the season which is why mangoes are also expensive. These are the consequences of our actions, which has resulted in climate change,” they said.

Faasega Sakaria, a teacher from Fagali’i Primary School, stated that there has been a shift and a change within the students in terms of the environment. They have managed to gain a clear understanding of the environment and she hopes the students are not only aware, but make use of what they have learnt and make changes.

She said they were happy to be part of the awareness programme by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. 

“It is these kinds of programmes that help build the understanding of the students, in terms of weather change and also strategies in which we can help resolve these issues and protect the environment.”  

She added they had strongly encouraged the students to participate in this programme because they are located near where the water catchment is based.

“For this reason, it is a good programme for the young ones so that they are able to have this awareness and to be knowledgeable with what is going to happen if they fail to look after the water catchment area,” she said.

And Fa’asega is certain that young people will determine the future of Samoa and she is recommending that a representative from the M.N.R.E. should assist the students of Fagali’i Primary School in preparing for what is to come.

“It would be nice if some of the M.N.R.E. representatives would come over to the Fagali’i Primary School to pay a visit. Over the years the M.N.R.E. have always targeted the village of Fagali’I, but never the school. 

“But I believe that it is these young ones who are going to be the future decision makers of Fagali’i, it is better to equip them at a young age so that when they grow up, they will be a great help to our community and our country,” she said.

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