The National University of Samoa (NUS) held a YOUTH4CLIMATE debate where students showcased their passion and in-depth knowledge on the impacts of climate change.
The three participating groups were Salani Bright Horizon, Peer-2-Peer Initiative and Lanulauava Students Association (LSA) .
The panel of Judges included the President and CEO of Samoa Stationery and Books (SSAB) Tofilau Fiti Leung Wai, President of Samoa Conservation Society (SCS) James Atherton, Acting British High Commissioner Ian Richarrdson, Marina Monteoliva of UNDP and Danita Strickland from Conservation International.
The debate was a demonstration of the depth of knowledge amongst students from different faculties of NUS, and also USP students who participated.
The Peer-2-Peer Initiative took out first place, Salani Bright Horizon secured second place with Lanulauava Students Association in third place.
The debate was organised by the President of LSA Grace Ah Young and Vice-President Okalani Mariner. The two driven climate activists have been selected to represent Samoa to the YOUTH4CLIMATE international event being held ahead of the 26th session of the Conference of Parties (COP26) scheduled to be held in Milan, Italy from the 28-30 September 2021.
Speaking to Samoa Global News, youth delegate Okalani Mariner says she had not expected to be a part of such a prestigious event and was honored to be selected to represent the youth of Samoa.
“I was nervous at first because I was not expecting to be chosen and it was quite a huge role to carry when I had first realised that I would be representing the youth of Samoa in an international environmental conference,” she said.
“I was also concerned about travel logistics and such, but now I feel a lot more confident because I have seen the support of my community, especially the students, as well as my friends and families,” she added.
In the midst of a pandemic the 18 year old says she is looking forward to attending the conference where youth will come together to discuss ways to prevent climate change from affecting our islands.
“This conference is very monumental and it’s the first of its kind so it’s such an honour to be involved and represent Samoa. I’m looking forward to meeting like minded youth with the same passion and same drive for climate justice and climate action as we do.”
“I hope to learn from amazing people in this conference, meeting and networking with new people but also travelling to the country itself because Italy is on my bucket list,” she said.