Presentation Secondary School Thurles
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Congratulations to Aisling Maloney- Climate Ambassador Winner!

Congratulations to Aisling Maloney- Climate Ambassador Winner!

My Journey as a Climate Ambassador – Aisling Maloney

My journey towards receiving the Climate Ambassadors’ Outstanding Achievement Award began on January 31st2020, when I was one of 124 people from across the country to receive my initial training as a Climate Ambassador. Since then, I have been working diligently both inside and outside of school to promote action against climate change.

Firstly, I should probably explain what all of this means. The Climate Ambassador programme is an initiative to train and support people taking action on climate change. It is supported by An Taisce and the Department of Communication, Climate Action and the Environment. The role of a Climate Ambassador is to present new information on climate change to the public and to work with communities on climate actions, to raise awareness and to reduce the effects of climate change while making communities more sustainable. When I started my journey, I wanted to bring about positive change and show people that even the smallest action can make a difference.

During the lockdown, we were unable to gather together as the team had previously done, so we adapted. I attended the first Virtual Network Gathering of Climate Ambassadors on March 19th. Over lockdown, I attended various webinars about topics such as permaculture, community gardens, Earth Day, sustainable businesses, climate change and the arts, climate pledges, climate strikes, green campuses, sustainable fashion, and wellbeing.

I am proud to say that I have always been an active member of my Green Schools committee, and I even had the chance to become its secretary. This committee is where my interest in environmental issues began. This year, we received the Green Flag for biodiversity. During Climate Action Week, along with the events that were organised in school, I recorded a video for the Climate Ambassadors’ social media pages, highlighting the actions our school have taken to promote climate action. In August, I became a member of the Junior Board as the Glocal Rep for Climate Action. The ‘Glocal’ project is run by Youth Work Ireland Tipperary and aims to connect young people with local and global influences, as well as impact their lives and those of their communities.

Just days before the Climate Ambassador Awards Ceremony, I had the honour of attending a webinar as a panelist for a conversation with climate justice leaders, Asad Rehman and Mary Robinson, thanks to my connection with the Climate Ambassadors. I asked Mary and Asad about the reluctance of governments around the world to respond to the threat of climate change. Needless to say, it was a remarkably interesting conversation from which I learned a great deal.

On the night of the Award Ceremony, I logged onto my scheduled Zoom call filled with nerves, to say the least. Before the event started, I had the chance to speak to the other finalists and learn about their journeys as Climate Ambassadors. Once the countdown ended, so did the conversations, and we all turned our attention to the screen as Gary and Grainne, our Climate Action Officers, opened the event. I listened as some of the finalists shared their journey with the audience, and watched a video compiled of the achievements of everyone within the programme. With my family gathered around me, we watched with fingers crossed as Gary and Grainne began announcing the winners of the Climate Ambassador Outstanding Achievement Award. As the number of awards left to receive began to dwindle, so did my hopes of receiving the award. Then it happened. I almost forgot to speak when my name was announced, conjuring up a short speech in a matter of seconds. I couldn’t believe it.

Once the ceremony had ended, I sat there in shock. Messages of congratulations came pouring in from family and friends, and I knew that my time as a Climate Ambassador would be a journey that I will remember forever, and an experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

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