Raven, 18, has just completed her final year at Nelson College for Girls, where she was the 2015 Head Girl. Raven has been a passionate environmentalist from a young age and has been actively volunteering for environmental organizations such as Greenpeace and 350.org for the last five years. In 2012 Raven attended New Zealand’s first Youth Climate Summit, Powershift, in Auckland. This inspired her so much that she went on to co-found and lead the Nelson Youth Climate Action group, an inter-school group of Nelson youth who wanted to take action on Climate Change and put pressure on our leaders to make the transition to a clean energy future. This group has grown to become an online network of over 200 students. Through this group she has organised actions, information stalls, working bees, training huis, presentations at primary schools, secondary schools and local councils, spoken at many local rallies and more. This work in her community has given her many unique opportunities, such as attending Youth Parliament in 2013, and subsequently she has been able to develop her leadership and communication skills, helping her to become a more effective change maker. This year Raven started and led a volunteering partnership between Nelson College for Girl’s students and the local Brook Waimarama Wildlife Sanctuary, and secured permanent recycling stations for her school.
Raven loves the outdoors, particularly activities such as hiking and sailing, and these activities have given her a love and respect for the environment and a passion for protecting it. Paired with a strong sense of social responsibility and the motto to “be the change you want to see in the world”, Raven will continue to take action, especially on issues such as Climate Change, with the hope that future generations will have a safe climate to live in, and will be able to enjoy our beautiful environment, as she has. Next year Raven will begin her conjoint degree program, in Law and a Bachelor of Arts – which will be composed of International Relations, Political Science and Environmental Studies. She hopes that these studies will continue to hone her leadership, problem solving and communication skills in a way that will enable her to follow her passions and make a positive difference in the world.