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My experience so far on the Environmental Leadership Programme

I’m Sam Jarada, a first year biomedical sciences student at Queen Mary University of London. I recently joined UpRising’s Environmental Leadership Programme, not only learn more about environmental issues, but also to develop myself as a leader and learn other transferrable skills.

Before joining the Environmental Leadership Programme, I lacked confidence in myself and I didn’t have much of an understanding of what it means to be a leader. Joining the programme at the start of April and meeting people from different backgrounds is currently helping me to grow personally in terms of confidence and leadership.

Meeting people from different backgrounds is currently helping me to grow personally in terms of confidence and leadership

I’ve worked in various roles that have helped me come to UpRising. I used to work as a teaching assistant in various schools around London [1], where the skills and knowledge I gained through working with children of different ages have taught me how important education is for them. 

This leads me to say that I have a strong belief that one of the best ways to tackle the current issues affecting the natural environment is through educating the younger generation since they will be shaping the future of global society through various leadership roles such as presidents, CEOs of companies, and managers etc.

Therefore, I think that joining UpRising will help me teach people younger than me that it is vital to maintain our natural environment and reduce the impact of environmental issues such as global warming, deforestation, flooding and air pollution, so that our planet can survive for future generations to live good lives and utilise resources.

Recently, the government announced that there will be a new GCSE natural history course starting in 2025 with the intention to engage teenagers in environmental issues [2], which is a step in the right direction. However, I do wish this was done sooner given recent disasters such as the forest fires in Australia [3], which wiped out a lot of trees that could convert carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into oxygen through photosynthesis.

So far on the Environmental Leadership Programme, I have taken part in various webinars hosted by the UpRising team. These have featured guest speakers from different careers in the environmental sector and I have some ideas about which campaigns or causes within environmentalism I can support.

Speaking of causes, I have contributed to cleaning up the canal beside Queen Mary [4], where I picked up numerous amounts of debris floating in the river. The debris I found, such as lighters and a wine bottle, surprised me. This gave me an understanding at how serious water pollution is and how initiatives like canal cleanups are needed.

I hope to use the skills earned from this programme... to teach children and young people about environmental issues

According to Environmental Technology [5], water pollution not only impacts the health of the surrounding environment, but also human health. One is water contamination. Harmful chemicals coming from the objects floating in the water. In extreme cases, when consumed they can damage our immune and reproductive systems, cause cancer and negatively impact brain function. Additionally, water pollution can lead to people being infected with many waterborne diseases like cholera and dysentery as well as others.

Overall, I am finding the Environmental Leadership Programme to be good. I hope to use the skills earned from this programme as well as my previous experiences before the programme to teach children and young people about environmental issues and possible solutions to counteract the issues.

I look forward to increasing my knowledge about environmental issues and participating in campaigns that focus on teaching young people about all aspects of the global environment or any other issues.     Sam Jarada

References

S. Jarada “My experience as a Teaching Assistant” Circadian, Jan. 05, 2022.

W. Hazell, “Government reveals new Natural History GCSE from 2025 to reconnect teens with wildlife,” inews.co.uk, Apr. 20, 2022.  

Al Jazeera, “Australia’s forest fires fanned by climate crisis: Study,” www.aljazeera.com, Nov. 29, 2021.

S. Jarada, “Canal Clean-Ups Help Local Wildlife,” www.qmul.ac.uk, Oct. 18, 2021.

Environmental Technology, “What Are the Effects of Water Pollution on Human Health?,” Envirotech Online, Apr. 19, 2022.