The Malta Independent 21 May 2019, Tuesday

An opportunity of a lifetime

Tuesday, 17 April 2018, 08:55 Last update: about 2 years ago

Martina Mifsud

Forty-two young reporters from 24 countries came together in Portugal between 15 and 19 March in a first time workshop led by Unesco and the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) through the YRE network. It has been an absolute honour to represent my country as an ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) Young Leader. I feel more than privileged to have been the only Maltese with the other participants, coming together to unite as one voice shouting against the massacre of our environment, by proposing ways in which to educate our young and convince our old to take more care of our environment through sustainability.


The three-day workshop was packed with enlightening speeches about leadership, teamwork and networking and raising awareness on local issues. We had sessions on how to be an environmental reporter (through article writing, photography and videos), and hands-on sessions consisting of investigations, drawing up reports and presenting them during a press conference (available online on

All themes were related to sustainable development and it was enriching to be able to address these themes while working with youths from different countries. Our perspective of the environment is the same no matter what country we are coming from!

Experts leading the sessions included Christopher Slaney (a freelance journalist and a television news producer with 35 years of experience), Daniel Schaffer (the CEO of FEE), Emmanuel Koro (environmental journalist working with Unesco), Julie Saito (Programme specialist of Communication in the section of ESD within Unesco), Gosia Luszczek (ecologist, educator and trainer with 18 years of experience working in environmental education), Mona Zoghbi (sustainable development consultant) and Pedro Marcellino (producer, writer and co-director of When they Awake, journalist, senior editor, author, researcher and a political advisor). The workshop was also facilitated by Margarida Gomes and Kristina Madsen.

As a YRE ambassador and an ESD leader, it is my duty to enlighten the people as to how to make more environmentally conscious decisions. I once read that it is the people who do small things constantly that bring about the big changes. It does not need to be a drastic change. It can be as simple as introducing recycling in your household, reusing items which are not conventionally thought of as reusable and reducing the usage of disposables, especially now that the Maltese BBQ summer is upon us.

Our environment is a system. It is a system with each one of us being an integral part of it, and when we do not do our part within this system, the whole structure is in danger of collapsing. That being said, if we do what's right, our small actions will increment and result in a change which is majorly impactful if it involves all of us. If we all do our part, nature will take care of the rest and we would be living in a rewarding environment in complete mutualism. It is time to do what we are meant to be doing if we want our Nature to thrive.

YRE has been an unbelievable journey so far and I have one person I owe it all to. I want to heartily thank Audrey Gauci, for being the person who has been by my side ever since, offering help and feedback and incessant encouragement. Thank you!

I will finish this by saying what we young reporters always reiterate - Once a YRE, always a YRE!

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