We sat down with Faye, a 17-year-old climate activist from Melbourne to talk climate crisis, what the future looks like and how we can all be part of the (many) solutions.

Undress: Youre a youth climate striker, when and how did your passion for climate justice start?

Faye: As a young child, I was brought up to value and appreciate nature, going for hikes, watching documentaries and spending weekends in the garden. With this foundation, I have always had an interest in the environment, I began to collect and build a collage of newspaper cuttings on the wall of my bedroom on such issues including the climate crisis. Learning of the consequence of our inaction amongst other teens I developed a sort of eco anxiety, but remaining in hope of the possible avenues for solutions. Besides the leadership I may provide to my school community, I feel that if you really want to influence what is happening, we need to get the Government to listen. Along with other teenagers of a similar mindset, I became invested in the progress of the climate protests and the international movement.

Undress: Youre 17 and we love how driven you are. Tell us a little more about your plans for the future?

Faye: Im graduating from secondary school this year and I plan on continuing my education next year at university. I plan on studying law, but in a course with breadth to explore environmental studies and politics. This year, I have had the privilege to be a school captain and within this role, strive for change. Gravitating to roles of leadership, I would like to become involved in politics and law to be in positions of potential change, free from the restrictions of school walls, where possibly controversial but necessary change should be taken in response to the climate emergency, removed from the developing greed for a growing economy.

Undress: Do you have a philosophy or motto you live by?

Faye: I dont have a particular motto that I abide by but a friend of mine once said learn and improve, within the context of schooling and scoring, but I have held onto that. I feel it encapsulates the need for growth, learning, understanding and forgiveness.

Undress: How do you practise sustainability in your everyday life?

Faye: In my day-to-day I try to be conscious of my habits, opting for plastic-free consumer alternatives, limiting water usage and never wasting food. My family is also involved with our local community garden and grow and harvest organic produce and advocate for locally-sourced food. As a vegetarian, the ability to grow food at the rate its being consumed is another way my family and I practice sustainability. Atop this, I also frequent thrift stores for my fashion fixes. In this way, I can get vintage and more interesting pieces for less and not at the cost of exploiting people and environment at the heart of the industry of fast fashion.

Undress: Do you have someone you look up to or get inspiration from?

Faye: I would say the most influential figure I seek inspiration from is Sir David Attenborough. Perhaps its cliche, but for good reason; the man has dedicated his life to exploring the beauty of the natural world. The Earth is a victim of ignorant human actions and my prime motivator to take climate action is due to Sir David Attenboroughs passion.

Undress: If you could make any changes to the legislation surrounding climate change in Australia, what would you do?

Faye: I think the societal mentality surrounding climate action in Australia would mean that many changes need to be implemented but I feel the most important one would be to declare a climate emergency and stop the legal approval of major coal plants and promote nationwide sustainable energy alternatives. The development of the Adani Coal Mine is an example of the hypocritical violation to our environment for claim of an increase in jobs, most of which are short term, whilst Australia remains a nation with the vast potential to lead the world in solar sourced renewable energy.

Undress: What is your ultimate career goal?

Faye: Being only 17 years old at the moment, this is subject to change, but given recent events and my urge to act on my passions in response to the current political climate, my ultimate career goal would be to become involved in a left wing political party. Who knows, maybe become Prime Minister one day.

Undress: What advice would you give to others who are interested in making a difference but dont know how to start?

Faye: Its not hard to start small. I feel the first step is education. We live in a time when information is at our fingertips so self education from reliable resources and an open mindset is the first step to change. Frankly, I believe a clear understanding of the issue of climate change, its origin, human impact and the daily solutions, is what is missing from arguments about what to do in the face of this unprecedented adversity, leading still to denial and arguments about the facts, rather than the best solutions. I think that the best way to make a difference is to advocate for the facts and understand the serious consequence if we continue in our consumerist society. In this way, like me, learning about the emissions impact that the agricultural industry and meat eating had on the environment and how it works, motivated me to become vegetarian, and in turn convince my family to do the same.

Kimi TeohComment