Polymnia Glykeriou: A young woman with big aspirations for the environment in Cyprus
Polymnia Glykeriou is part of a group of 24 Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots who are working with UNFICYP to promote actions on environmental peacebuilding in Cyprus. She is one of the 86 young men and women who applied to join UNFICYP Youth Champions for Environment and Peace, an initiative which aims to empower young Cypriots to promote environmental awareness on topics ranging from preserving the environment in the buffer zone to global climate change.
Since June, the Youth Champions have been discussing ideas and developing initiatives to engage both communities to care for the environment and peace on the island. "In this group we have very similar objectives and I love being part of it because we are focusing our conversations and caring for the same issue: our environment," she said.
Polymnia, who is 27 years old and holds a master’s degree in Environmental and Chemical Engineering, has been interested in environment issues since she can remember. “Since I was very young, I remember learning about caring for the environment from my grandmother. Now I discuss with my family, I share things I learn with friends and with this group we exchange ideas and realise that we have a lot more in common than just our passion for the environment.”
To cope with the pandemic, the Youth Champions had to adapt to physical distancing and their meetings were shifted to virtual encounters for most parts of their sessions. “Even though we had to limit physical contact, COVID-19 made us create a special bond, we were always talking online and learning from each other.”
When talking about what has she learned from being part of the initiative, Polymnia says: “Being part of this group has been a rich experience, I saw we are working on both sides to protect the environment, we are the same, we have a lot in common. It’s an example that we are supposed to be focusing on what brings us together, and not on what drives us apart.”
Polymnia has big hopes for the environment in Cyprus and around the world: “I want a future were people are dedicated to the environment no matter what their job is. I wish children and adults learn to care for our resources. The future I’d like to see there is no climate change in the news, or disasters like forests burning don’t happen so often”.
The UNFICYP Young Champions for Environment and Peace initiative is based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. The SDGs address the global challenges we face, including those related to climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice.