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Inspiring Young Leaders Interview Series, Episode 2

A dialogue with inspiring change-makers

This interview was conducted by Sudesh Pokhrel with inspiring young leaders from around the world as a part of the Max Thabiso Edkins Climate Ambassador Program, the Global Youth Climate Network (GYCN), an initiative of the Youth-to-Youth Community of Young Professionals at the World Bank Group, in collaboration with Connect4Climate (C4C)


Interviewee name : Roberta Moraes

I have a law degree (lawyer), but I am currently dedicating my studies to sustainability and work as an ESG consultant for companies

Favourite quote

“ Be the change you want to see in the World ” - Gandhi

Hails from - Curitiba/Brazil

Q. Please tell us about yourself and what best describes you? Your biographical journey, your dreams, your struggles and how it led to what you have become today ?

* We would love to know your story. Please feel free to be subjective/passionate.

Who am I? A person with passion for nature and life. I usually say that and since I was a child, sustainability was already part of me, even if I didn't know what it meant yet. Born and raised in Curitiba, a city in the south of Brazil known as the "green capital", I was always stimulated to value, respect, and admire nature and everything that comes from it. Over time, I came to understand that sustainability is synonymous with empathy. After all, it is impossible to build a future -and a present- where no one is left behind without first being able to listen carefully, identify feelings and needs of those around us, and walk together towards a common goal. This is sustainability and it is also empathy.

Moved by a culture of peace and a safe future for all, I combined my academic experiences (undergraduate degree in Law, graduate degree in Sustainable Projects and Environmental Innovations, Conflict Mediation/Non Violent Communication) to take action and share everything I have learned over the years! Take "action" translates into promoting education and raising awareness. I say this because I believe that knowledge is much stronger and valuable when it is spread and passed on, especially when the subject concerns collective welfare. Certain that I am following my purpose, I am happy to guide groups and companies towards sustainable behaviour. Currently, I also partner with organizations so that together we mobilize local actions and develop socio-environmental projects to benefit vulnerable populations.

Section : Your Initiative.

Q. What led you/inspired you take on the cause or climate advocacy or the SDG action that you are involved with? Was it a personal encounter, a discrimination you felt or a policy injustice you encountered? Please feel free to state any other reasons of your inspiration?

* Your stories can be a beacon of inspiration for many

There is no greater inspiration than nature itself. As I said, I am passionate about life, and when I say life I mean all life that exists on Earth: life in water, life on land, human life, without distinction between species. I believe that we, human beings, are getting away from our essence and forgetting that we belong to nature and not she to us. It is urgent that we understand that we are not the center of everything, we are just a part of the whole. Even so, and perhaps ironically, the maintenance of future life is in our hands. Therefore, aiming to preserve LIFE, I am inspired by nature so that it is still possible not only to survive on Earth, but to guarantee a dignified and fair life for all species and generations.

That’s what motivated me to work with SDG's 12 and 13. This is because I believe that, in order to have a minimally responsible production and consumption, we must stop turning nature into a mere resource/product/consumption good. Instead, we should rescue a circular system and thus, consequently, reduce climate impacts.

In practice, composting would be a way to encourage people to be conscious about the food they are consuming, and also about the food they are discarding. Instead of simply turning organic waste into "garbage", it can be transformed into biofertilizer and be used to grow new organic food. In this way, small farmers are empowered, the use of agrochemicals is reduced, healthy food is guaranteed, hunger and food insecurity are combated, the local economy is promoted, and the emission of greenhouse gases are reduced.

Q. What would be your greatest strength and weaknesses? What would be the one thing you would change/improve in your-self? Do you often reflect on yourself with healthy criticism so that you could be a better leader/person?

Weakness: Introversion , Strength: Introversion

Let me explain;

For a long time I was bothered by being a more introspective, quieter person than others. This, in some occasions, resulted in misjudgments and hurt me a lot. However, as time went by, I realized that my greatest weakness could be my strength. I understood that although "quiet" I have always been very observant and an excellent listener, I have always been that person who offers empathy without judging, interrupting or condemning. Today, I realize that this part of my personality is what allows me to create many real connections and even see beyond what is seen: feelings, needs, and creative solutions to any challenge! When I finally realized this, I regained my self-esteem and realized that even introverts can be great leaders!

As I am :)

Q. what issue is your project addressing or what community problem are you involved with? Do you face roadblocks in solving the issues? For how long have you worked with the issue and what kind of people do you come across? Do they share your concerns or they don’t?

The biggest problems faced are low awareness and the lack of public policies.This is why environmental education/awareness is so important for the sustainable projects to succeed, even though this is the longest and most time-consuming path. Other than this, there are many points that would favour the performance of my project but that bureaucratically - cannot be put into practice for lack of public policies that foresee such possibilities.

I suppose that for both problems, education is the solution. After all, an aware, politicized, and empowered population uses its voice to demand solutions in the legislative sphere, as well as to act socially. Nevertheless, fortunately I have found on my way people who have the means to help by offering spaces to speak, promoting debate, and even taking the demands to the competent bodies. Another great facilitator to my project was joining United People Global Sustainability Leadership Program (2021) and Climate Reality Hub (Brazil), with colleagues who share their experiences, suggestions, and solutions.

Section 3. Your Hopes for the future

Q. How do you see the Youth of your country? In two to three lines, what is your overall vision of the role of youth or what should be the role of youth in changing your country’s future?

* Please feel free to go beyond 2-3 lines if you wish.

I must admit that I am very proud and hopeful about the youth of my country. I see that young people are more participative than ever in politics, are dedicated to raising flags and empowering their peers! It makes me happy to know that besides taking advantage of opportunities, young people are creating and opening their own doors! Acting not only for the future, but for the present as well!

Q. Tell us a story about a recent growth experience you've had. What tips can you provide from your daily practice and routine that you feel leaders should follow even when they have a hectic schedule?

Recently (during the pandemic) I was unmotivated and seized by feelings of anxiety. Not only about my reality but also about the global reality. The problem with that was that I found myself, little by little, paralyzed! So, my great learning was to understand that it is okay to rest, but never to stagnate. When it is difficult to find strength on our own, we can count on the strength of those who are by our side! That's when I decided to join groups of people who think like me and are also dedicated to making the world a better place, people like my friend Sudesh, who I had the pleasure to meet when I participated in the United People Global Sustainability Leadership Program, class of 2021! This is a learning we should take with us for life: we are not alone! Together we go further! This is my mantra and remembering it is almost like a daily practice.

Q. When you feel overwhelmed by competing obligations, how do you prioritize and keep moving forward to reach your goals?

As I said before, it's okay to rest when you're tired, but don't give up! With this in mind, when I am overwhelmed I allow myself to take breaks, identify my needs behind my feelings, and seek to satisfy them before moving on. After all, we can only offer support and work for a better world when we first take care of ourselves.

Q. Anything else you would like to share about yourself or to the youth of the world. Perhaps a word of wisdom, a sensible advise or anything else?

Exercise empathy, with the other and with yourself. Embrace your own feelings and needs. Respect your limits and be proud of your achievements. Love yourself and the life around you. It is by loving what you see in the mirror that you will be ready to give your love to the world and make it a better place! And if you need a hand, know that you can count on me :)

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this interview are borne by the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the Reimagining Society.

53 views3 comments

3 commenti

An absolute inspiration! We love your work Roberta, keep doing your thing :)

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Roberta Moraes
Roberta Moraes
30 lug 2022

The post looks amazing!!! 🤩Congratulations on this initiative! Reading the stories of other changemakers serves as inspiration for us to keep working on our purpose! It was a pleasure to participate, thanks again for the invitation! Roberta Moraes

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sudesh pokhrel
sudesh pokhrel
30 lug 2022
Risposta a

You are Welcome Roberta. Its amazing people like you who give inspiration to make this world a better place. Keep working for your cause. Keep inspiring

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