18-year-old Abbie Barnes from the Southwest of England was 13 years old when she fully grasped the environmental challenges our world is facing. “I’m extremely passionate about a wide range man-made environmental issues; be it global climate change, marine debris, the unsustainable production of palm oil,” she said in the latest edition of Youth Effect released ahead of World Environment Day and World Oceans Day.
Fuelled by a will to make a difference and to be part of the efforts in setting our planet on a more sustainable path, Abbie has launched a series of projects to raise awareness about our environment and the need for immediate action. One of them took her all the way up on Mount Kilimanjaro.
It was during the summer of 2014, when Abbie decided to visit the highest free standing mountain in the world to study the glacier melt and its effects on endemic wildlife species, local people and tourism. “After seeing those glaciers, first-hand, I feel that the greatest threat we face as a species is ourselves if we continue to ignore the things that we cannot see. My message to you, is that your every action counts,” Abbie stressed.
Abbie is not alone in her faith in young people’s ability to create a more sustainable future. According to a youth survey conducted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), 89 per cent of young people think that their generation can make a difference on climate change.
Two years ago, Abbie came up with her own short film “Save our oceans, recycle your plastic”. The project led to a beach clean-up as well as attention in local media. “I really just tried to get as many people involved and aware of the issue as possible,” she explained.
With environmental sustainability as one of the three main objectives of the post-2015 agenda, Abbie is right on it. Get smitten by her contagious enthusiasm on environmental action in the latest Youth Effect video, produced by the United Nations Department of Public Information in collaboration with the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth and UN DESA.
How do you plan on taking action for the environment? Share your plans and ideas via social media using the hashtags #YouthNow and #UN4Youth.