Walnut Creek, CA
2023, Junior, Film
Climate Hero: Elizabeth Wanjiru Wathuti, Green Generation Initiative
I find trees’ roles in the environment fascinating. They help clean the air and release water through transpiration, upholding the water cycle; they provide homes for animals and hold together soil. They can even communicate through signals sent through their roots. There is more to trees than we can see, and Elizabeth Wathuti’s connection with them is powerful. She frequently mentions that she grew up in one of the most forested regions of her home county, Kenya, and reminisces of planting a tree at the age of 7. However, Elizabeth also reflects on seeing the forest and water supply being destroyed before her eyes. Hearing that, I thought about how difficult it must be to see negative change impacting something that holds so many childhood memories and experiences. Reflecting back on my childhood, I used video footage from my own hometown - my "paradise" - to tie in with Elizabeth’s values on the importance of nature. And while I was filming the rustling leaves and abundant wildlife surrounding me, I began to understand how much I could lose. By sharing the experiences of a person who bore the brunt of climate change but continued fighting to protect our planet, I hope that I can inspire others to pay more attention to the world around them.