Whenever I'm invited to speak at events at my old university or secondary school, I always get asked 'what are you passionate about?' or 'what made you know you wanted to work in sustainability?'. 

If you ask any of my colleagues at Global Action Plan (GAP) why they work here, or what GAP's mission of tackling our throwaway society means to them, each of them will have a different story to tell. Some of us are here because we're concerned about overconsumption, some want to tackle increasing mental health rates, some of us just really like polar bears! For me it's a bit of all of these - but it was my concern about climate change in general that first brought me to GAP.

Climate Change and I

For me, it all started 10 years ago 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 was horrified after watching  ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ - how could we do this to our planet? Why wasn’t more being done to protect it? From that day on, I decided that I wanted to ‘save the world' - a decision which influenced what I did next. 

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.

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.

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 why am I connected to GAP's mission?

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 – and the desire to do what I can to reduce the impact of climate change affects every aspect of my life. 

I believe that GAP's mission to tackle our throwaway society will help us build a more sustainable future. It's about encouraging people to reclaim success - that the idea of it doesn't have to be about what we earn or what we own; it's about reinventing our relationship with stuff, questioning what we consume in terms of what we really need and want; and it's about reinstating our rights as citizens rather than consumers, and demanding better from businesses so that they provide goods that last. 

It's going to help us and future generations to live happier, more fulfilled lives - and hopefully even save a few glaciers!

As they say in Dr Seuss's Lorax –

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not”

Check out our inspiration hub for tips and ideas of things that you can do in your life to make a difference to our planet.