We only have one environment and we must protect it

An illustration if Maria in the beach, looking at the ocean, with arms crossed in a defiant pose.

Hi! My name is Maria, I am 14 years old and I am a proud Barbadian.  

I am a UNICEF Youth Advocate for the environment, a Healthy Environmentally Friendly Youth Ambassador, and a Sustainable Development Goals Champion. But before all of these titles, I am just Maria, a student that loves photography, drawing, going to the beach, taking care of my cats and playing video games. 

Since my time being involved in advocacy for the environment, I have discovered quite a few things and in particular about myself. I believe that I am most proud of my ability to advocate for things that I care about even when it may not be seen as something cool or popular at the time. I get inspired when challenging situations are faced and solutions are found; or when people just try and work together to achieve something good and truly positive. That is why I push to help the environment in the best ways that I can because without a clean, healthy and safe environment, no one will thrive or even survive; and the future generations will not see or experience the natural wonders of this planet.  

I just wish human beings would understand that the planet is a truly magical and beautiful place. Despite our arrogance the environment will survive and adjust, however, what is necessary for human survival may not be around anymore.  

People think that the planet needs to be adjusted or changed in some way to make it more livable for every child but that is not the case. The planet is perfect but human beings are just trying to change it to be what they want – they have forgotten that the actual things they need to survive are at stake for these wants.  

I would hope that the children and the young people that are coming up and are wondering how they can take action to help the planet and the natural environment that keeps us alive, do so in their own way. Just like our planet, we are all unique and have special gifts to share. Try to always do things from a place of sincerity and kindness, while trying to work with others. 

 Anything that is for the good of us all, needs all our help and us working together and not selfishly. The simple fact remains that we only have one environment and we must protect it. 

“I just wish human beings would understand that the planet is a truly magical and beautiful place.” Maria,  UNICEF Barbados Youth Advocate