Feature: Kenya's young green campaigner on frontlines to save planet amid grave threats

by Christine Lagat and Lu Duobao

NAIROBI, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Ellyanne Chlystun Githae is only seven years old, yet her passion to save the planet from a host of threats has won the admiration of the society and got her invited to the third edition of global environment assembly at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Ellyanne, a Kenyan, was a star attraction on Monday during the opening ceremony of assembly. "Well done! I am so proud of you!" Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Environment met Ellyanne can't help praising the year-three pupil and gave her a warm handshake.

During an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of global environment assembly, Ellyanne, who was chaperoned by her mother gave a glowing tribute to icons of history who inspired her to be in the frontlines of nature conservation.

It was in 2015 when Ellyanne started to plant trees. "Her mission to save the planet started while in kindergarten after drawing inspiration from the likes of the late Kenya's Nobel Peace Laureate and green campaigner, Wangari Maathai," Ellyanne's mother Dorothy Chlystun Githae told Xinhua. The female entrepreneur said her daughter can't get enough of Maathai's story and started the enthusiasm of planting trees after her first tree at their back yard.

"Trees give us oxygen and life, planting trees is fun," Ellyanne said.

She was probably the youngest delegate who attended this year's global environment assembly that sought to reignite the conversation on a mounting pollution menace that has devastated ecosystems and human health.

According to Ellyanne's mother, her passion for a clean and safe environment is growing each day and so far, she has managed to mobilize a sizeable army of youngsters to support her cause.

She is the proud mother of a young girl who has shattered the glass ceiling to be at the heart of local and global efforts to green the planet amid grave threats linked to climate change and predatory behavior by man.

According to her mother, the light complexioned girl does not hesitate to criticize actions that could jeopardize the pristine environment in her surroundings.

"She is really passionate about trees and often picks rubbish ad place it into dustbins. Today, she woke up at dawn because she wanted to be present at this global environment assembly," said Githae.

She revealed that her daughter often plant trees during special occasions like birthdays and holidays earmarked for national heroes.

In order to cut down the cost of planting trees, the family has started a tree seedling in the backyard of their house. And sometimes Ellyanne has to give up some study and entertainment time to plant trees. "We have no worries on whether planting trees will affect her study or not. After all, study is not just in the classroom," said Githae.

Since 2015, the bubbly minor has planted 321 trees in Nairobi and beyond. Ellyanne has won the admiration of her mother and the wider society for daring to go a step further and prove that her age and gender is not an impediment while advocating for a healthier planet.

She clarified that her daughter is self-driven and does not rely on older relatives to champion for restoration of degraded landscapes.

"I do not have to push her to achieve her agenda, in fact, she pushes me," said Githae, adding that her daughter intends to plant many trees outside Nairobi when her school holidays begin later this week.

"In future, I want to plant many more trees," said the young green campaigner, when asked what her dream is.

[ Editor: meng ]
 

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