Barnsley Sixth Form College student Safaa Shreef has been saluted for her commitment to green issues at the South Yorkshire Sustainability Awards 2022 ceremony.
Safaa received the Young Green Champion of the Year Award at the event, which celebrates the achievements of those that have started on their journey to reducing their environmental impact.
The judges were wowed by the outstanding leadership Safaa has shown in driving change and campaigning around environmental issues. She was also praised for inspiring others to consider the environment and making a significant environmental impact, which she does alongside studying A Levels in Biology, Maths, Further Maths and PE.
As a member of the Barnsley Youth Council, Safaa has helped form a campaign committee to focus on protecting the environment. She has helped create an action plan which aims to secure recycling bins and water fountains in schools and around Barnsley town centre; getting schools to use environmentally friendly caterers and provide free re-useable water bottles; and to see the committee create an education pack for schools. As part of a Barnsley Youth Council delegation, she has worked alongside other Youth Councils in the Yorkshire and Humber to form a group called The Regional Climate Change Assembly.
Safaa is also involved in an Urban Tree Fund Project, named The Terrific Tree Task, which has worked with Barnsley Council to turn unused land in the Pogmoor area into a wildlife garden, in which over 450 trees have been planted.
Safaa said: “I am proud to receive the award, not only for myself, but also for the other young people I have worked with. Since I was elected to the Barnsley Youth Council, the climate crisis has frequently come up as a major issue concerning young people.
“Like many people, I have been drawn to the subject, started doing further research and found it bizarre that our environment had suffered so much with little hope of significant change, as potential solutions are clear. I have become committed to campaigning to protect our environment.
“Events such as the South Yorkshire Sustainability Awards are important in promoting the positive work around environmental issues taking place in South Yorkshire. Environmental issues are so important as the effect they have on people, animals and plants, both direct and indirect, seems to be intensifying every year.”