Being a teenager is not a reason to hold back. Nitzan Baybus from St David’s College shares her story of fighting for what she believes in.
She was silent, sipping her cup of cappuccino amid the vibrant crowd of the eventful cafe. Her peaceful appearance emanated a serenity beyond her years. She had a purpose. While people around her complain and wait for answers, she strives to find solutions.
Nitzan Baybus, a nineteen year old from St David’s College is a campaigner who aims to bring about change. “I looked for the percentage of teenage female campaigners, the numbers made me feel I couldn’t do it,” she says.
Over the past 2 years, she has been the backbone of many successful campaigns and is passionate about the environment. She hopes to contribute to the ecosystem and society. “I never saw myself being a campaigner. I was not aware of the environment like other people and never thought I could do something about it,” she says. Today, she is battling against the use of plastic and hopes to spread awareness.
Migrating to Cardiff at the age of fourteen, Nitzan felt a little out of place. Away from her homeland, Israel, she became part of the new culture and grew up like any other teenage girl. She recalls an environmental seminar that influenced her and volunteered for campaigns around the city. But, soon realized what she was passionate about. “I got a group of friends, they got their friends and their friends got others and we became Project Green. We started our own campaigns and I felt responsible to do something,” she recalls with a wide grin.
In 2016, Project Green was born. Nitzan along with other members of the group went out to the community, trying to understand the tropical problems in society not just environmental. Soon after, they began the campaign against buses that were not frequent and tiresome for students. They demanded double-decker buses that were more frequent and less packed.
“We got students to write two positive things about the buses and one thing they would like to change. We stapled it on to the chocolate bars and gave it out to the bus drivers. And we noticed that after constantly having conversations with the head of Cardiff buses, there were lot more double-decker buses running very frequently,” she says.
With the number of successful campaigns, Nitzan and her friends were motivated to start their new mission against plastic. Drawing inspiration from a summer camp that introduced her to recyclable materials, she organized an art exhibition that encouraged students to make products out of recycled materials. The group focused on making their college canteen biodegradable which was a success.
“The most challenging part is getting young people to see the environment to be something cool. There is a notion that it is boring or that we have ages until climate change but this is something that is happening now. It’s so difficult to spread awareness about it,” she says.
Response from the public is positive but they face the adamant local business that opts for cheap plastic over recyclable materials. “When it comes to other materials, you have to make it cheaper and that would involve spreading awareness among people. So that people will buy them and make the recyclable ones cheaper,” she says.
Looking forward, Nitzan is hopeful. She believes that support is important for a successful campaign. “One voice is very important, it can start so much but it is very difficult to achieve your goals. We need help and we need people. It is very important for a successful campaign,” she says.
Apart from her campaigns, Nitzan loves film-making and aspires to be a director one day. She looks forward to completing college and is excited about her trip to India.
Nitzan is determined and wants to represent her ideas to people, young and old. She urges young girls and women to do what they are passionate about. “Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have a voice, that you don’t have the right to say what you want. If there is something that you are passionate about, just get up and do it because no one else is going to do it for you. Do it, doesn’t matter where you are from or your gender,” she says.
More details on Project Green and activities on their Facebook page.