KRISTINA Diprose’s passion for the environment began with a litter-pick on Bridlington beach when she was a small child.
Now, aged 25, she is heading to South Africa to lend her voice to UN international climate negotiations after being chosen as one of ten young people from across the UK to represent the voice of youth at discussions in Durban.
Kristina, who grew up on Burstall Hill before moving to Leeds to study, will be travelling there with the support of a national organisation, the UK Youth Climate Coalition.
The talks bring together negotiators and politicians from all over the world to come up with solutions to tackle climate change.
They happen every year, with interim meetings in-between to review progress.
Kristina, who is studying for a PhD at the University of Leeds, said: “I first became interested in environmental issues whilst a pupil at New Pasture Lane.
“I remember starting up an action team with my friends to litter pick on the beach during the school summer holidays.
“It was a small start, but it’s amazing where you can end up!”
“This is a fantastic opportunity and I’m so excited to be involved.
“Young people need to make sure that negotiators and world leaders know we care about these talks.
“The decisions made in South Africa will affect our generation for decades to come.”
She and her new team mates got a first taste of UN life by spending a fortnight at a meeting in Bonn last month.
They gave speeches, demanded more green jobs, and presented ‘Fossil of the Day’ to countries that blocked negotiations.
Kristina also had a chance to ask questions to UK negotiators and UN climate talks head Christiana Figueres.
You can read her blog about the journey so far at un.ukycc.org
Kristina said: “The United Nations climate talks are the best chance the world has to face up to climate change and the meeting in South Africa this November is a key opportunity to make progress.
“I’m currently fundraising to make sure I can attend and be a voice for the concerns of young people up and down the country.
“The trip is entirely self-funded: this month I will be recycling unwanted clothes and working extra hours to kick-start fundraising, and I’m really looking forward to organising a big charity event in the autumn.
“I’m also keen to hear from any local schools who would like to learn more about climate change and what young people get up to at the UN.
“I’d be delighted to give an assembly or workshop for interested students.”
To find out more about the negotiations or to sponsor Kristina, visit un.ukycc.org