My name is Arnolds Krutilins. You could say I’m your typical college student doing A levels and enjoying all the experiences that go with that. I have always had a particular interest in current affairs and politics, but the topic of climate change and generally the need for carbon reduction, or any news of the green economy was merely something which seemed kind of a remote issue for our society – something you were aware of, but would only see mentioned in the odd newspapers here and there, nothing too serious or of importance to be discussed among your peers. Or at least that’s what I thought. You could say that not many issues go unnoticed in the current age of 24/7 media, but I would disagree.
My journey started with doing some charity and advocacy work for Concern Universal. This is a charity which helps communities across Africa to fight poverty, by providing long term solutions and transferable skills to do so. I think, what got me thinking about the actual extent of this already-present problem was hearing the events and the destruction of what climate change does from a person who had actually experienced it first hand. It was close to my heart and mesmerizing. I felt a responsibility to do something, even if it’s only to inform people and take actions to limit the climate impact of my own daily life. This is a feeling which hasn’t left me since…
Our society has become distanced from the issues happening elsewhere. The media reports on terrorist attacks, wars and other gruesome events on a daily basis. Most of us have come to ignore them and not focus on them too much. This is understandable – after all, how could a person go about her daily lifeif she were too focused on such events? What was and is different with climate change is that it’s something we have the power to do something about and also something to which we contribute and are in part responsible for.
I soon found out about a training session organised by UKYCC and Concern Universal for public speaking, with the chance to debate at the Hay Literature Festival about the need to limit an individual’s carbon emissions to 2 tonnes per year by 2050. I was genuinely interested not only because of the possibility of public speaking practice, but moreover because of actually debating and informing people about an
issue which we all face together.
After several weeks of considerable preparations and probably my seventh draft of the speech itself, it was Monday 4th June 2012 – the day of the debate at Hay Festival.
I must say that before preparing the speech for the Hay Festival I wasn’t really convinced that it’s actually possible to get young people’s voices heard about any issues to the wider public and audience nowadays, even less so to the government officials.
But this changed.
Speaking on stage, and seeing people passionate, interested and devoted to these ever-growing dangers and issues, gave me hope. Gave me hope that actually it is possible to make the public aware of these issues, spread the word and make people take actions towards reducing our impact on environment and reduce our carbon emissions.
It was an inspiring, uplifting and motivating experience to say the least.
I left with a hope that maybe, at least some of the people who left the debate will make more conscious decisions about the actions we take that harm our environment, and how that can be changed, for example, by reducing their carbon footprint, taking train or ferry journeys instead of flying.
Being conscious of climate change, the challenges that face us in the future and that there’s a need to take some kind of action wasn’t enough for me. I had to realise the extent of this problem – the devastation it already causes in developing nations across Africa and elsewhere and the urgent need to take and advocate action for our society to become more conscious of this ever growing issue. After all, the environment we’re going to be living in depends on the actions we take today.
If we can reach a wider audience about the climate implications that we already face, and further implications our actions might have, then I am sure government officials and organisations will not be far behind.
I have come to the conclusion that together we can. We can change our lives for the better, we can be more conscious towards climate change and the daily actions we take that have effects on our environment; and we can and should inform the public about how they can too make a change and save the environment we all live in.
Hereford Sixth Form College