Climate Action Week – Q&A With HSSCU’s Climate Ambassador

News, Monday 14th October, by HSSCU

Climate Action Week 2019

Climate Action Week is an initiative focused on the education of climate awareness. Primarily targeted towards schools, this week aims to educate not just our youth, but everyone in our society. What exactly are we educating people on? Not just the climate, but how you can help! Our climate needs our attention, as we have seen from inspirational youths such as Greta Thunberg and Catarina Lorenzo. We need to focus on what we can do to not only improve our planet, but to stop things from getting even worse.


HSSCU’s Climate Ambassador


With the above in mind, we thought it important to introduce you to Health Services Staffs Credit Union’s very own Climate Ambassador. Say hello to our Board Member, Christine Barretto! Christine is from South Africa and is extremely passionate about the climate. She has continuously pushed for a greener HSSCU since her initiation. Additionally, Christine volunteers for river clean-ups, attends environmental protests and does talks on environmental change.


Climate Action Week - Health Services Staffs Credit Union's Climate Ambassador, Christine Barretto


Climate Action Week Q&A


We spent some time doing a Climate Action Week ‘Questions & Answers’ section with Christine. See below!


What Does Being A Climate Ambassador Entail?


Once you are chosen to be a Climate Ambassador (CA) you serve a year term. In this year, you participate in training and network events. You are also required to implement at least 2 climate actions. In the year, you get opportunities to speak at a number of different events and schools. This ranges from being invited into businesses to speaking at festivals, with everything in between. It is all about raising awareness of the critical nature of the climate crisis. It shows how small changes make a big difference. We are given great information and knowledge, which effectively we are asked to share as much as we can.


What Inspired You to Become A Climate Ambassador?


I have been a keen environmentalist from a young age. I always felt an overwhelming responsibility towards our wildlife and the environment. Growing up in a rural part of Zululand in South Africa, I had a great respect for what was around me and wanted to protect it. I was also very conscious of the fact that our populations were booming and competition for resources would become a problem. I wanted to make a measurable impact and found I was becoming frustrated by my inability to do this. My son was born last year and this was the impetus I needed to follow through on an action plan. This  catalyst made me have the confidence to put my name forward, leading to my passion for Climate Action Week.


HSSCU Climate Action Week - Climate Change Ambassador - Christine Barretto


What Exactly Do You Do In Your Climate Ambassador Position?


I have spoken and engaged with a lot of people about climate change during my tenure as a CA. I also founded a successful environmental group. This group is proactively involved in improving the health of our local environments and lobbying on climate and environmental issues. One of the biggest aspects to be a CA is to engage with young people. I do this by delivering talks at local schools and events. Here, I show the importance of Climate Action Week, and more. Additionally, I have organised environmental protests, petitions and clean ups. I am now involved in the organising committee of Tidy Towns and am currently involved in setting up an environmental network for the South County Dublin.


List Your Top 5 Tips for Someone Becoming More Climate Friendly:


  1. Buy local
  2. Try to offset your carbon footprint by reducing your use of cars and planes. If you need to fly, think about planting a tree or making a contribution to offset. Or reduce your usual transatlantic flights by 1.
  3. Invest in green energy by switching to electric vehicles or solar energy
  4. Reduce the amount of red meat you eat i.e. ‘Meat Free Monday’
  5. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.


How Do You Think We And Climate Action Week Can Inspire Others to Become Climate Ambassadors?


I think inspiration comes from leading by example. Keep your head down and do your best. Hopefully someone will see the little bit you do and think ‘I would like to do something to make a change’. The younger generation are already acting and making changes with leaders such as Greta Thunberg leading the way by her own example.


If You Could Have 1 Sentence to Describe What Being A Climate Ambassador Means to You, What Would That Be?


Providing me with the tools to make a positive impact for my sons future.


Bring Climate Action Week to Your Home!


We hope that the above has enlightened you on Climate Action Week and you will be able to bring Christine’s fantastic tips and tricks to your family and friends.


At HSSCU, we are constantly working on improving our green efficiency. We will be sharing our 5 top updates that we introduced over the last year on our Instagram and Facebook accounts this week. Make sure to follow!


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