INTERVIEW WITH LILA WARD
Activist Fridays For Future Sydney
In support of Global Fridays For Future


Hey Lila!

We've long admired your pursuit of 'climate action now'. Briefly tell us what triggered your pursuit of this cause. 


When I really started to actually understand climate change was when I watched documentary films with Jane Goodall, David Attenborough and other people like that. I used to say "mummy when I grow up I want to be Jane Goodall and live in the trees with the monkeys and apes and I want to protect the animals". Also I watch a lot of stuff about the Ocean and how to protect it. I have grown up living by the ocean and I love to snorkel and surf the waves. I started my mission by picking up plastic on beaches and my Daddy showed me the movie 'Three For the Sea' and we learned about plastic pollution and we decided to go plastic free in my family. When we buy a drink we use our bottle and containers and we shop without plastic and that sort of thing. We learned how to make our own toothpaste and soaps so we could be zero waste and not use packaging. We have cloth bags and beeswax wraps and all that.



FINDING MY VOICE. SHARING MY PURPOSE

Many of our Tween community have a passion or purpose but perhaps haven't found their voice yet - or the appropriate platform to share their message. 

What practical and emotional barriers did you have to overcome to get your message out there?


When I strike with Greta and other school kids it makes me feel kind of strong.

The first strike I went to was in Sydney about seven months ago and there were so many school kids and they had a giant plastic earth ball they were throwing up in the air and I was thinking "why did they use plastic....thats a bit sad...but also I was really excited because there were so so many kids and you know it seemed like something really good was about to happen.

My Grandpa (Papa) had died recently and the thing he cared the most about (besides his family) was caring for the earth. I knew how much it meant to him...... and Mummy and I went to the School strike and cried because we knew he would have been so happy and so proud of all the school kids working hard to protect the earth. So I guess partly I found the strength to speak out about climate change because I love my Papa so much and I wanted to do what would have made him happy and proud.

I think when we have people that are our role models it is easy to follow them and feel brave in that way.

I also get inspired by Greta Thunberg and I think she is very brave for a 16 year old. She is soooo shy but she still stands up and speaks because she is brave and she cares a lot. 


MY PERSONAL WINS

Of course we HAVE to ask this question: what are you most proud of having achieved in the pursuit of your purpose? 

 

Well I think I was pretty proud when we sailed with Greta Thunberg in the waters outside Manhattan. That was really fun too. It was so cool to sail next to the statue of liberty because I had learned all about that statue before I ever went to America.  I was proud when I saw my photo in all the newspapers in the USA too. 

I am proud of my petition that I have started on change.org I started it yesterday and already I have 125 signatures. My petition is calling on the government to help us clean up the air in Sydney by building more bike paths and pedestrian spaces. I am also asking them to help make it easier and cheaper for people to use electric cars and electric buses.

We also have a group called 'Fridays For Future Sydney' and people can join that on Facebook, some school kids set that up and my Mummy helped us do it. School kids strike on Fridays in Sydney to help raise awareness about the need to protect the earth right now.

 

 

YOUR PURPOSE - YOUR FRIENDSHIPS

 
Did your purpose affect your friendship group or popularity or socially gain you respect in any way?

In New York we worked so hard on climate activism and raising awareness and we made such special friends through that. I met Greta a lot and also the other kids who are part of her group. Some were my age and some are high school kids but we felt like one big family.

I got to go with the big girls and speak at schools in NY City and teach kids about the planet and how to protect it. I made so many friends and met such great people. I also got to meet Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and Al Gore and a few Hollywood actors and that was really interesting too.

Everyone was so nice to me and we got to do so much art and painting and fun things together too. I even got to give Bernie Sanders a big hug and I got a photo with him. My Grandma says she is really proud of me too.




Please offer your best piece of advice to any Tweens upset about the climate  - practically or emotionally

My advice to kids is you don't have to strike you can do other things if you don't want to strike. You can ride your bike instead of go in a car, you can stop using plastic and try to find other ways (bees wax wraps are great). You can eat less meat and more local grown plants....that can help. Also trying not to waste food is a big help.

But my advice is that speaking out can feel good. Joining other kids can be very amazing and not scary or bad in any way. 


EMPOWERED THROUGH PURPOSE

 
Please offer your best piece of practical or emotional advice to Tweens unsure if putting themselves out there is really worth it/ whether they can make a difference  


I feel like I am making little differences each day and each time I strike or do anything to help the earth. I have a book about this stuff and it has a quote I think it says "alone we can do so little, together we can do so much" by Helen Keller. Helen Keller is a hero to me. She was deaf and blind but she went to university and she was an activist.

My great grandmother was deaf for the second half of her life and she did amazing things to help women and she got an OBE award from the queen of England for her hard work and for fighting for the rights of women.



Even if we don't always feel strong we are stronger than we think. 
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