Updated: Sep 28, 2022
"[One Young World] gave me hope that one day we will be the ones in power and the confidence that we will use it to prioritize the survival of people over profit."
Sharona Shnayder is a 22 year old Nigerian-Israeli environmental activist and Arctic Angel mobilizing for climate justice in the Middle-East. She is the Founder of the global grassroots movement Tuesdays for Trash inspiring individuals around the world to dedicate Tuesdays – or every day – for trash picking.
Her main passion is to reduce global waste and create a more sustainable, clean and equitable home for everyone on this planet.
In September of 2022 she attended One Young World (OYW), an international forum for young leaders held in Manchester. She reflects on what youth leadership means and how conferences like OYW can drive climate action.
What was a standout moment for you at OYW?
Realizing that my work is worthy of recognition and that I’m not alone. It was an incredible experience to see so many young people in the same stage of life and mindset I had of creating a better future. It gave me hope that one day we will be the ones in power and the confidence that we will use it to prioritize the survival of people over profit.
What do you hope that OYW delivers for youth in the long-term?
I hope OYW enables a path to leadership for youth and helps provide mentorship as well as the resources necessary to enter spaces seemingly unreachable for young changemakers without status and connections.
Why do you think it's important for youth voices to be present at international conferences?
Youth voices are so critical at international conferences because of the passion and reality we invoke. I found at One Young that I was the only representative from my country, meaning if I wasn’t there an entire nation would have been left out of the conversation not to mention the perspective of a generation being handed a future guaranteed to crumble within our lifetime. When youth are present it’s a slap in the face reminder that the adults in the room have failed us and we’re sacrificing our childhoods to make sure the work gets done.
How can we turn networking and attending conferences into climate action?
We have to create a symbiotic system for putting words into motion. We need more legislative/governmental representatives as well as investors present at conferences on climate who can take the ideas or initiatives shared to the rooms where decisions can be made that create the landscape needed for a sustainable future.
(Left to right) 1. Sharona was the Israeli flag bearer for the OYW opening ceremony. 2. Arctic Angel Sharona and Chess met at the OYW 2022 conference in Manchester. 3. Sharona moderated a conversation at the OYW summit about sustainability in the automotive industry.