I was recently asked to speak at an event at my old secondary school. The brief was simple – “speak to the students about something you are passionate about like glaciers, or your job… inspire them!”. This made me question – what is it that I’m passionate about? I don’t have a hobby (minus the occasional bit of blogging or baking), I wouldn’t say I’m ‘passionate’ about being a Girlguiding volunteer… the only consistent thing I think / care about is climate change. It’s why I go to work each day, why I write this blog, why I went to university to study Geography… it’s everything.
For me, it all started when I was studying GCSE Geography. I can vividly remember being taught about climate change – about ice caps melting, polar bears dying, the world ending. I remember watching ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ one lesson and being absolutely horrified – how could we do this to our planet? Why wasn’t more being done to protect it? From that day, I decided that I wanted to ‘save the world’. ‘Saving the world’ was a big ambition to have, but I had the perfect plan:
1) Study Geography at university —> 2) Get a masters in Glaciology —> 3) Become a Glaciologist —> 4) Save the glaciers —> 5) Save the world
I went to university to study Geography, and as much as I could focused my studies on climate change, environmental science and glaciers. For my dissertation, I spent a month in Iceland studying how weather and climate impacts glaciers. I don’t think it was until this trip that I truly understood how serious climate change is.
That was the first time I saw a glacier – and it was the most wonderful yet heartbreaking experience. As I stood on the Svínafellsjökull glacier, I felt such sadness – how long would glaciers like this survive? The glacier had retreated so much compared to the photos and maps we’d used before the expedition – and each day it felt like it was that little bit
further away (yes, I know it probably wasn’t retreating that fast).
My time in Iceland was phenomenal, and made me even more determined to fight climate change. If GCSE Geography was the first bit of inspiration, then I guess Iceland was the kick up the bum I needed to properly take action. The thought of a world without glaciers was too heartbreaking – and though I knew there wasn’t much I could do to save them all, I couldn’t have lived with myself if I didn’t try.
So what am I passionate about?
Every day I look at the world around me and feel this overwhelming urge to protect it. From the Bedfordshire countryside, to the coves and beaches in Mallorca, to the forests in Yosemite National Park… there is so much beauty in the world – so much to protect. That is my passion – I eat, sleep and breathe climate change. I want to ‘save the world’. And yes, I am one person – and yes, there is only so much I can do – but I’m going to do it, and I’m going to try and inspire others to do it too. As they say in the Lorax –
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not”