Roopa Suppiah recently returned from an international forum optimistic that she helped contribute to the climate change debate.
“For a long time I have felt that I couldn’t do anything because I am just one person,” says Ms Suppiah, one of two Canadians to attend the International Youth Forum on Climate Finance in Shanghai. “The grassroots movement is good, but we really need to start getting action at a higher level.”
The 40 youth participants from different British Council programs produced a declaration following the six-day forum outlining the challenges and practical solutions related to climate change finance. They hope to present their declaration at the next major climate change conference this November in Cancun.
Ms Suppiah, a second-year life sciences student, was one of the few participants not pursuing either an economics or environmental studies degree. However, she shared her experience developing green-energy technologies for science fairs.
Ms Suppiah developed a love of science at an early age watching her older sister Asha work on science fair projects. Since high school she has applied that passion to make a difference for the environment.
“There was so much talk in the media about global warming and everything was so negative. I needed to do something,” she says. “I like a lot of things, but there is just something about the environment.”
She continued that environmental work when she arrived at Queen’s last year. She volunteered with the Main Campus Residence Council’s vermicomposting initiative and educated upper-year students about ways they can make their houses more energy efficient.
Ms Suppiah intends to remain active on campus this year while continuing her charitable work. She and her sister founded an organization that provides water facilities for people in developing countries. Last summer they travelled to southern India for their first project. They hope to raise enough funds to install another well next summer.
More information about the British Council’s climate projects can be found on this website.