Climate hero

Climate hero

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Rebecca Tsui
Photo: Rebecca Tsui

Natalie Ng has been chosen to represent young people's interests at Copenhagen next month, writes Rebecca Tsui

Environmental advocate Natalie Ng Sze-man has topped 100 applicants to become Greenpeace Hong Kong's Climate Hero. She will fly to Copenhagen for the climate conference early next month.

The 22-year-old Hong Kong Polytechnic University student has had special interest and concern for the environment since she was a child. 'My mother taught me to cherish every resource since I was small,' she says. 'Whenever I use something, I stop first and think about whether it is necessary.'

It was not until she was much older, Ng says, that she realised she had been leading a green lifestyle and everyone should make a similar effort. But she does not try to push it on people.

'I had tried to lecture my friends on environmental issues, but that didn't work out so well,' she says. 'Now, I act instead of talk. I hope my actions can inspire them.'

For the past two years, Ng has avoided turning on the air conditioner, for example, though she admits it has been hard.

'Living in Hong Kong without air-conditioning is difficult. But it reminds me of the problem of climate change. It tells me I should not turn on the air con,' she says.

Other than saving energy and recycling resources, Ng has adopted a green diet as well.

'I don't eat beef because of its huge carbon footprint,' she says. She hopes these small actions can contribute to a reduction in the effects of climate change.

In addition to promoting green living on an individual level, she would like to raise awareness in the community and alert the government about the urgency of fighting climate change.

'Climate change closely affects our lives. We've had one of our longest summers and our coldest November this year. There are water shortages on the mainland because of drought. Food prices are increasing ... all these are caused by climate change. But our government does not seem to be doing much about it.'

Ng, Greenpeace Hong Kong's Climate Hero, will fly to Copenhagen with Greenpeace campaigner Prentice Koo Wai-muk.

'Although I won't attend the actual conference, I will be outside the meeting hall the whole time and do my best to express my opinions to world leaders,' she says.

Secretary for the Environment Edward Yau Tang-wah will be representing Hong Kong at the meeting, and Ng says she would like to interview him.

'I hope the government will listen to teenagers' voices. I hope it understands how far we are lagging behind in terms of fighting climate change,' she says.

'Our government cannot even set a carbon reduction target.'

Ng heads to Copenhagen on December 6.

She says she is both excited and nervous. 'I'm spending one to two hours every day reading ... I need to get the most I can get out of Copenhagen.'

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