Schoolboy encourages others to do their bit to help the environment
We want to honour climate heroes at this year’s Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards.
The launch of our climate hero category comes at a time when there has never been a bigger focus on the planet, with more people stepping up to do their bit and persuade the rest of us to take action.
Northern Ireland has no shortage of eco-warriors and, as we launch this year’s awards, we want to hear about them.
They are people such as Co Down boy Charlie Hamilton-Cooper, who launched a campaign to keep beaches clean and save the oceans in 2017, when he was just five.
Charlie was four when he overheard his parents discussing the detrimental effects plastic and pollution was having on marine wildlife.
In March 2017, he started cleaning beaches with his mum and dad. Since then he has completed more than 40 of them.
The Crossgar schoolboy, who is now nine, also teamed up with Friends of the Earth to make a powerful video encouraging people to do their bit to reduce damage to the environment.
He is one of a growing number of children and young people leading the charge for a greener planet, many of whom have been inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.
Last year, 40 young people from all over Northern Ireland met policy-makers in Stormont to set out their demands for action needed
to safeguard the environment.
But it’s not just Charlie doing all he can to help save the planet. There’s also Belfast’s masked ‘phantom planter’, who has secretly planted thousands of trees in community spaces right across the province.
The environmental superhero keeps his identity a mystery as a way of promoting his mission, and has recruited a number of volunteers to help him out.
From housing estates across Belfast to community gardens and even in the beauty of the Mournes, new trees have been appearing overnight thanks to his efforts.
He previously described what he does as “environmental graffiti” and said he was on a mission to get people planting trees not just in Northern Ireland but around the world. “Planting a tree is such a simple and brilliant thing to do and I want everybody to do it,” he added.
“I want this to go global. It isn’t about me. I want it to be about the trees and I want to inspire everyone to get involved.”
Philip Cassidy, executive vice president of Concentrix, which is sponsoring our climate hero award, urged people to get nominating.
He said: “We are delighted to be showing our support for a cleaner and greener future by sponsoring the climate Hero award.
“There is some incredible work taking place in and around the community by individuals and groups who are fully committed to making a difference in the fight against climate change.
“It’s the actions and dedication of these people who inspire us all to make important changes in our lives and encourage us to do the right thing to protect and preserve our one earth.
“We are looking forward to reading all the climate hero stories which will inspire others to live a more sustainable life. We’re proud of everyone who is contributing to a greener way of life.
“We’re encouraging readers to submit an entry for a climate hero for an individual or a group they know in the community who is truly going above and beyond to protect the life we love.”
Like many other businesses, Concentrix has made green issues a priority and has launched its own environmental programme, called Our One Earth, One Concentrix.
“We are committing to bold, creative action to help fight climate change, close the loop on waste and improve the integrity and balance of the natural ecosystems we all depend on to thrive,” Mr Cassidy said
“We are re-imagining our future in line with our culture to move closer to our sustainable ideal.
“(We are) using our global scale to influence, engage and build collaborations both within and beyond our company walls — with our extended Concentrix family, communities and our suppliers and clients.
“Our One Earth, One Concentrix programme is our commitment to protect and improve our earth and our shared future.
“We recognise our responsibility but also know that no one company can solve these challenges alone.
“It’s when we work together collectively to make positive change that we can build a greener, better world for generations to come.”