Taking individual action

Selin Ozturk

Up until recently, my most common nickname had been Sel. But I started this little Instagram account for my friends and I, and I started being called by a different name: sustainable queen! I have always cared about the environment- I went vegan for a while and have always loved second hand shopping. But it wasn’t until I moved to Ireland that I really started becoming more passionate about becoming even more eco-friendly.

During my time volunteering with UNICEF, I started helping with workshops for high school students around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I remember sitting in one of the workshops, trying to help anyway I could - but more importantly listening, and realizing that I had a very basic knowledge of what it meant to live sustainably and the little things I could do/change in my everyday life that would positively affect my environment.

I then thought, if I had super minimal knowledge and didn’t really learn any of it in high school, then a lot of my friends and family may be in a similar situation, where the only difference was that I was actively putting myself in a situation where I could learn about these things. This led me to start asking them about little tips and tricks they knew about being eco-friendlier and by the new year, I started the sustainable_queen account.

I had become so frustrated and felt helpless about the state of our world that I felt the need to do something, even if it was super small and start trying to make a difference.

Through Instagram I become a small advocate in my digital community and tried to share all the little tips and tricks I kept learning on my path towards living a more sustainable lifestyle. My posts not only helped with my eco-anxiety, but they also started getting people to talk and make small changes in their everyday life! Before I knew it, I had friends sending me their little eco-friendly swaps and it truly warmed my heart! My account isn’t meant to become Instagram famous or anything along those lines- I am definitely not claiming to be this amazing sustainable, zero-waste, flower child- it’s about getting a little bit more knowledge about living sustainably out into the world.

On the sustainable_queen account, I try and advocate for small actions people can do every day that are super easy. It is also a platform that helps starts a conversation, because ultimately, we each can have a ripple effect in each other’s lives and I believe that’s how small changes can make a big difference.

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