The Change I Want to Bring to the World
The so-called ‘green issues’ — sustainable living, environmental awareness, climate crisis, etc. — have become increasingly over-politicized in today’s public life. In my country, Hungary, the reigning impasse has destructive effects on both our natural habitat and people’s lives. Instead of opinionated quarrels and political partisanship, empathy and civility, inclusive discourse, and scientific reasoning should be the new norm — a change of paradigm that, perhaps, could also influence the current political climate by reintroducing discussion-based negotiations to public life.
I feel that it is my moral obligation to use my talent, skills, and career to induce change and redefine the way the said issues are dealt with and thus set precedent to other countries and communities that face similar challenges. I believe that the best way to achieve this is through sustainability-focused policymaking, therefore I am resolved to use my future education to establish myself in environmental policymaking.
How I’ve Been Involved in Changemaking So Far
I co-founded and chaired the green committee of my college at Durham, served as environmental representative for the University, enrolled in sustainability-focused hackathons, and completed a summer internship as a sustainability consultant. In addition, the topic for my bachelor’s dissertation was an assessment of development of Chinese environmental policy-making.
A Changemaker Who Inspires Me
Former MP and Minister of Environment in Denmark, Kirsten Brosbøl, started two interlinked projects that I think are incredibly important and inspiring. Firstly, Parliamentarians for Global Goals (PfGG) – is a fascinating initiative that grew out of Brosbøl’s non-partisan strategies as an MP. Standing at the crossroads of today’s climate, social, and economic crises, its purpose is to accelerate action by MPs for more effective implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals via cross-party coordination on issues that go beyond conventional political ideologies. Secondly, 2030beyond, is a related non-profit ‘do-tank’ capitalizing on the PfGG network to achieve the UN’s 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.
How I Overcame a Recent Challenge
COVID-19 curtailed my Chinese exchange year. I decided to organize an alternative program in Taiwan for myself. Due to the pandemic and the considerable distance, no one was willing to offer me any job prior to my arrival on the island. I had to figure out a plan for the upcoming months in a windowless quarantine room, where I stayed for 15 days upon arrival. Fortunately, by the time I left isolation, I had a more or less solid plan for the first month: I went to work on a sustainable family farm, up among the mountains of Nantou County in central Taiwan. Thereafter, I found other farms of various kinds and also stayed in a small fishing village in the North-East to practice my Mandarin and immerse myself in the local life and culture.
Succeeding in managing on my own without connections and prior experience in a foreign country, whose language I barely spoke (local dialect made communication especially difficult at the beginning) was a most rewarding experience that helped me better understand myself and identify both my strengths and weaknesses.
During my time in Taiwan, I also had the chance to spend some time solo hiking, which was an excellent opportunity to make new friends on the mountains.
What Spirituality Means to Me
To me, spirituality is the idea of an ultimate moral standard or principle connecting all humans and giving purpose to their lives. I have come to realize that religion is but one, somewhat restricted form or manifestation of spirituality.
Spirituality has an important role to play in our modern societies, for it has the capacity to transcend conventional differences and provide a common ground that is defined independently from social stratum or political affiliation. Further, unlike religion, spirituality is less prone to institutionalization, which tends to entail exclusivist self-definition. In today’s world, where dialogues are fast disappearing, sources of connection are becoming increasingly important.