BEING THE CHANGE - Hellen Mpuya

According to the Merriam Webster, an activist is a person who advocates or practices activism: a person who uses or supports strong actions (such as public protests) in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue.
An environmental activist is a person who engages in activities related to protection and preservation of the environment and advocates for environmental justice. An activist is a person who sees a social or political wrong and takes efforts to make it right.
From Helen,

My name is Hellen Mpuya Luchagula, a student at Mzumbe University of Morogoro, pursuing an undergraduate Law degree (legum baccalaureus; LLB).
 Whenever I close my eyes, before falling asleep, I picture myself laying on a beautiful natural grass, surrounded by a variety of tall trees in a forest, a smooth wind whizzing past my skin bringing me a sweet chill, the birds singing and a stream of fresh clean water flowing peacefully in its channel.
I have lived to love nature and environment. This passion grew from my childhood.  At a young age I developed a desire in reading books, listening and watching documentaries specifically on adventures made by prominent explorers in rainforests.  I was captivated and enthralled by the beauty of the Congo and Amazonian rainforests.  The wealth of biological diversity is astonishing to both ears and eyes. The description of these forests gave me a clear picture of a wonderful natural creation that God had given man to protect and sustainably use for his livelihood, “Nature is beautiful and we are stewards of God’s creation”.
At Loreto Girls’ Secondary School I joined a number of clubs and organizations with objectives aiming at protecting and preserving the environment, some of these clubs are JPIC (Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation) club, MALI HAI club, Loreto Journalism club, YUNA (Youth of United Nations) club and FEMA club. I held a number of leadership posts which gave me an opportunity to work hard and serve my interests right. I do remember one of the most interesting projects was a MCHAICHAI PROJECT by JPIC, we organized cleanups, planted trees, celebrated Earth Days, prepared articles for sensitization and made presentations on school parades.
Currently, I am volunteering with Earth Day Movement in taking lead and educating the society on the protection of earth, I am a member of GYBN(Global, Youth Biological Network) and I am the current chairperson of WACHO (World Action on Climate Change and Health Organization) Tanzania. WACHO is a prominent global organization advocating for climate action and the impacts of climate change on human health. I am also a member of One Up Action Africa, an organization that unites young African environmental activists advocating for environmental peace and protection.

Trees are highly delighting oxidants “The lungs of the earth.  I call forests, “the mother of nature and living things”. Forests are a source of life.  By protecting forests, we protect all species, the human race included.  All species depend on flora for their existence; it is not only a home but also a source of food to many.  Forests or trees maintain equilibrium and control the climate and welfare of the environment (hold ozone levels, wind breakers, motivate rainfall, hold soil, economic significance etcetera).  Deforestation, greatly affects the ecosystem. I am taking part in tree planting activities and providing education to my peers and students in schools on environment, biodiversity and climate change.  For a long time I have been campaigning for many people to join and develop  tree planting and protection habits and say no deforestation. Through tree planting projects, billions of flora and fauna species can be saved. But tree planting is not enough, vegetation protection and reforestation should be encouraged.

WHO IS YOUR MY ROLE MODEL?
Growing up, Wangari Maathai, a late Kenyan political and environmental activist has been my inspiration. She was a woman of great virtue, who struggled to promote sustainable development by seeking environmental justice. “There can be no peace without equitable development; and there can be no development without sustainable management of the environment in a democratic and a peaceful state.” She believed that there can be no actual equitable development if the environment is not managed sustainably, and there can be no peace if there is no equitable development.  Environmental protection should be prioritized over economic development schemes. Wangari Maathai mobilized the planting of more than 40 million trees and stood at the frontline in campaigning for the protection of forests and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s).  Her legacy will live forever. She is what I pray to become, a phenomenal environmental activist.
It is unfortunate that in some African societies climate and environmental activism are not taken seriously. Many communities link environmental activism to western standards. If no action is taken, environmental redemption will become an impossibility. Climate change and environmental disasters are crises facing the entire globe, no continent, no country, no region, no village, no community is safe.

WHAT A LESSON WE SHOULD ALL LEARN?

The environment serves all our basic needs. Nature gives us food, shelter, raw materials for life advancement and importantly it freely gives us the oxygen that we cannot live without. But what do we give back as gratitude for the gift of survivorship that nature has awarded us? 
The small wrongs we commit everyday against the environment have a big impact on today’s and tomorrow’s sustainability. Think of the many times, you have thrown a plastic bottle or littered the street with pieces of sweet covers or pieces of papers, the many times you have used charcoal etcetera.  Adding up the many times you have sinned against the environment, will help you realize the extent to which an everyday single and simple act can jeopardize the biological diversity and render the whole ecosystem. Unfortunately, there is no planet B.

Change begins with you; change begins with everyone’s contribution. Environmental protection needs to be taken seriously before it is too late to mend the wrongs we commit every day. We need to stop playing dump and ignorant.  Scientists are coming up with scientific and technological solutions, unfortunately, “No human technology can replace the natural technology.” Politicians and the government are playing their part by proposing several solutions and policies to tackle environmental problems. We need to play our part as well.  It is quite simple;  reduce, recycle, reuse, use resources (water, energy etc) reasonably, volunteer to protect the environment, dispose wastes properly, opt for plant foods at the expense of animal products, engage in tree planting activities and  educate others on similar matters. We can be the change we want to make.

HOW DOES IT FEEL BEING AN ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST?

"It feels good and proud to know that, I am one of the many young people taking action to save the complex variety of species on earth through environmental protection. The survivorship of tomorrow’s generation depends on the decisions made by today’s generation; it is a great honour to take part in assuring a better future.
Nevertheless, working towards achieving my goals has contributed to my psychological well being and helped me gain a valuable experience in team work and leadership. I do believe that this will positively contribute to my career. Environmental activism in public engagement has brought me close to many friends and people from all over the world; activism connects people sharing the same ideology, working together to achieve a common good".
Take notice that, environmental activism needs vocalism, patience, creativity, teamwork, commitment, passion and hard work. Activism comes with rare opportunities
I still have a long way to go; this is just the beginning of a long and endless journey towards promoting sustainability.

" I Am The Change I Want To Make; We Can All Be The Change".

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7 Comments

  1. 🙏🙏🙏. Thanks for this honour.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congratulations Hellen, thanks for encouraging us to put our love also to nature

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great insipirational work Hellen

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congratulations to you dear. Thanks for the inspiration work of yours

    ReplyDelete
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