“When I was five years old, I discovered that something is seriously wrong with the way people treat our planet.” Sara from Sweden is one of four young environmental activists taking part in the Elders+Youngers debate leading up to the Rio+20 summit. In this blog she writes of her inspiration and experience advocating for practical solutions to environmental issues – with governments and at a grassroots level.
I’m Sara Svensson from Sweden, and I will be 65 years old in 2050. Until then and beyond, I’m devoting my life to sustainable development.
When I was five years old, I discovered that something is seriously wrong with the way people treat our planet. I became an environmental activist on a cold winter day, when I was stopped from eating polluted snow. In response to that experience, I decided to do all that I can to make it safe for future children to eat snow.
In the coming years I have realised that the problem will be much bigger than just dirty snow. Climate change threatens the very existence of snow in the place where I grew up. And worse – if we fail to act, the future might not even have any children. Luckily, this doomsday scenario can still be changed. Sustainable development is an opportunity to redefine our common values and bring about the kind of world that most people everywhere want.
Committed to realising this vision, my campaigning takes many different forms. On the governance level I’m lobbying decision-makers as a youth advisor for the United Nations Environment Programme. On the grassroots level I’m building the future we want by making my own lifestyle more sustainable, as well as empowering change makers through capacity building for civil society. As an academic activist I’m conducting research about the global environmental governance system and designing options for reform. When situations so require, I’m a supporter and practitioner of non-violent civil disobedience.
I’m proud to be part of the growing global movement for a sustainable and equitable world.