Each year, at the One Young World Summit, the Mary Robsinson Climate Justice Award is presented to a young leader pioneering an innovative and impactful climate justice initiative that seeks to preserve the earth for future generations. The 2018 awardee is Laura Palmese-Hernandez, 27, an environmental legal consultant from Honduras.
Laura’s award winning project, “Waste to Opportunity”, seeks to empower the informal recyclers in municipal dumps around the Bay of Honduras. This is achieved by organising the workers, promoting labour safety and providing seed funds for alternative and innovative processes. Having identified the lack of organisation and capital as significant limits both the social and environmental outcomes from the work of informal recyclers, Laura began the project to push for alternative solutions that would enhancing the wellbeing and quality of life for the waste pickers while also enhancing recycling and waste management efforts.
Speaking about Waste to Opportunity, Laura said “The project will support a vulnerable sector of the population. The benefits are not only social but also environmental –the project will increase recycling which will reduce the amount of trash disposed in open dumps that can potentially end up in our ocean”.
Mary Robinson congratulated all of the entrants for the award, saying “To identify the winner of the Mary Robinson Climate Justice Award at One Young World is becoming a very difficult task! In this the third year of the award, I was very impressed by the calibre of young people and the innovation of the projects they are bringing forward. I was inspired by their commitment and urge them to continue their pursuit of climate justice.”
Speaking about Laura’s successful entry, Mary said “I chose Laura’s Waste to Opportunity project because I saw in it something that resonates with my vision for climate justice and that is a commitment to solidarity with people made most vulnerable by societal marginalisation. Also, I felt that the award will have a significant catalytic effect and enable Laura to rapidly and effectively scale up her work. Laura is an impressive young woman and I wish her all the very best in her work with Waste to Opportunity”
The One Young World Summit took place in The Hague this past week. The Summit gathers together the brightest young leaders from around the world, empowering them to make lasting connections to create positive change. At the Summit, delegates debate, formulate and share innovative solutions for the pressing issues the world faces.