In 2000, Gloria Chang was the petite figure defiantly holding up her loudspeaker, inspiring her fellow students to stand up against much more powerful forces. Back then she made a considerable name for herself as the president of the Students' Union of the University of Hong Kong. In the time that has passed Gloria's activist ferocity has hardly faded. As a Greenpeace campaigner Gloria has taken on a new battle that's incredibly challenging and requiring just as much passion: global climate change.
In a recent interview with Asia City network, Gloria reflected on her time as, what the magazine have dubbed, "perhaps the most well-known student leader of the past decade" and her recent trip with Greenpeace to the Arctic. A trip that revealed the second-lowest sea-ice levels since record-keeping began.
At dawn on September 6, I embarked on a journey to Longyearbyen in Norway. It is a settlement that's the closet you can get to the 80th parallel north. We spent four days in total on the sea ice. I was awed by the pureness and simplicity of the North Pole. It is like a silent call from the earth, and it’s such a big contrast when humans do so many sinful things to harm the environment.
Environmental protection is about public interest: fresh air; clean water; safe food and stable weather. It concerns everyone. By defending the earth's resources, we help make a more just world. [Especially because] when there is a natural disaster, it is always the poorest and most defenseless people that suffer the most. This is very unjust, because they are less polluting, less wasteful and have a lower carbon footprint.
More people are now talking about environmental justice. It is the most fundamental form of politics, and it is about interest redistribution. It is, in nature, the same as fighting for a more democratic government. A fair and free environment in which everyone can compete equally.
Head to the Asia City site to read the rest of Gloria's profile.
Also read our full coverage of the melting Arctic sea ice, including Gloria's blog posts about her trip.