Monday, March 9, 2015
A New Kind of Community Leader: Young, Feminist, Environmental Activist
By Edith Carpio
An hour into class, a very young lady walked in and introduced herself, adding that she had just come from a meeting at the United Nations. I could not have been more impressed. I usually never know what to expect when presenters come into class, but I knew she had something good for us planned.
Ramapo College alumni Amanda Nesheiwat said she was going to talk about climate change, a topic I thought I was well informed on because of previous classes I have taken. I could not have been more wrong. Nesheiwat presented it in a way that I had never seen it done before. She works with a program called The Climate Reality Project, whose job is to educate people on climate change.
The power point she presented was the same one that is used in her Climate Reality Project. It began with a picture of the universe, from the outside looking toward Earth, the way we do not usually think about. The presentation felt a lot more personal than a usual presentation. It immediately caught my attention and kept it the entire time. Throughout the presentation there were things that we do not hear about in the everyday news, things that definitely belong on the front cover of newspapers and in slots on TV news. These things include images of floods in places all over the world including the Phillipines, India, Brazil, Vietnam, etc. Of course there are many things going on in the world, but a long time problem such as climate change needs to constantly be addressed or else it becomes an afterthought in people's minds.
Another aspect that caught my attention in Nesheiwat's PowerPoint were the graphs and charts with many statistics. Some statistics shown were the hottest years, the increased rainfall over the years, etc. The charts put numbers in ways that were understandable, which is not usually the case, and usually causes me to lose interest.
Nesheiwat's presentation was extremely impressive, but her success was what was more remarkable: A twenty-five-year- old who created her own position as environmental coordinator in the town of Secaucus, a UN Youth Representative, who travels the world doing what she loves. What I found the most interesting is where she started from. She first attended Bergen Community College, BCC, which has a negative stigma behind it. High school graduates are reluctant to go to community college because it is 'not as good' as a four year university. But seeing how far she has come at only the age of twenty five gives me, also an alumni of BCC, a lot of hope as to where I can be if I take action and go after what I want.
It was refreshing to see a young woman, self proclaimed feminist, be a community leader. She really has the potential to change the world and it’s inspiring. Usually it is a tall man in a suit giving these types of speeches to people but Nesheiwat, in my opinion, did a better job than any man could have ever done.