“I can’t comprehend why society operates this way. People are aware of what’s right, but they often fail to follow through!” was a question raised by one of the youth volunteers named Ashley.

Ashley Lee is a student under the Waldorf education system in Taiwan, and she needed to complete a capstone project during her sophomore year of high school. So as her project, she began her journey in zero-waste living, producing only 2 candy jar full of waste in 6-month time. 

Two candy jar full of trash
During her 6-month zero-waste living experiment, Ashley only produced 2 candy jars full of trash.
© Greenpeace

Ashley’s biggest challenge during the zero-waste living project was communication. She had to communicate her idea and request over and over again with different stores, friends, and families, all the while constantly reminding herself to bring handkerchiefs, reusable food containers, and silverware. 

“I felt like I had to put in a great amount of effort to really challenge societal norms and say no to single-use products,” Ashley recounted. 

When she started to feel more overwhelmed and helpless during her zero-waste journey, Ashley Lee decided to join the Greenpeace East Asia Volunteer group. During her time as a volunteer, there was a specific incident that left a great impression on her.  At one of the Meatless Market events where she helped to promote the “Stand up for Veggies” challenge, one of the participants asked Ashley Lee for tissue papers, and she froze, not knowing how to reply. 

“Sorry, we don’t provide tissue papers because we are advocating for zero-waste,” said a fellow volunteer in a firm but gentle tone. Then, it dawned on Ashley  that environmental advocacy could be carried out in a gentle, yet unwavering manner. 

two greenpeace volunteers explaining the importance of reusable cup to 4 regular citizens
Ashley out volunteering in Qinmei Commercial District in Taipei
© Greenpeace

Afterwards, just when Ashley’s teacher thought the capstone project was only limited to daily life, Ashley boldly decided to join the Student Climate Strike in Ximen, voicing her opinions as a youth. 

“I know that there are concerns about the low-birth rate, but I’m afraid to have children without the world changing for the better.” This was a genuine concern held deep in Ashley’s heart. It was not intended to blame or point fingers at anyone, but was simply something she worried greatly about.

Since Ashley was young, she often engaged in outdoor activities with her family. It was then she experienced the beauty of Mother Nature, and formed strong bonds and relations with the beautiful land. This is why she can’t bear to see nature slowly fade away. 

a young woman on top of a rock
Ashley Lee, who has loved nature since childhood, joined a hiking club during university, and continues to engage in outdoor activities.
© Greenpeace

Now, Ashley hopes to strike a balance between her upcoming university life and being eco-friendly. To quote her from her Climate Strike speech, “Do you hear what I am saying? If you are also worried, then why don’t you also take action?”

If you also hear the silent cries of the environment, feel weary about the future of our planet, or would like to learn more about the environment and take action, Greenpeace sincerely invites you to join our volunteer group

Greenpeace volunteer group is a group of strong and caring people from all walks of life, dedicated to standing up for the environment. We believe that together we can bring stronger and more positive change.

Claudia Lim is Community Outreach Intern at Greenpeace East Asia Taipei.