I’m not used to writing about myself, so it’s taken me a little bit of time to work out how exactly to phrase this. I figured I’d start simple. So:
Hello, I’m Holly, one of your Student Green Officers! I’m a third-year Games Design student and hope to pursue a Masters in research after this year is up.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a love for learning. My dad used to joke that I devoured books, and looking back, I don’t think he was wrong! I’m lucky enough to have lived on the coast my entire life, and my curiosity and desire to learn led me very quickly to attempting to understand the world around me.
For a long time, (nine years, to be exact!) I thought I’d without a doubt end up as a doctor or a marine biologist or some other form of scientist. And I almost was! Up until midway through my final year of sixth form, I had planned to study neuroscience at university (which, I’ll be the first to admit, is a very different field from Games Design!). Studying Chemistry and Biology at A-Level gave me the tools to both interpret and make sense of life in the broader sense, from a molecular level all the way up to entire ecosystems. But my true passion has always been a more narrow definition of life: people.
And this is where my current degree ties into my passions and hopeful career path as a teacher. Art has been an integral part of my life, and by ‘art’ I mean in all its many forms, with an emphasis on writing and expression. I’ve witnessed the way different mediums can unite people and help harness the power of community, and it’s something I am enamoured with enough to want to dedicate my life to.
Sustainability is no different. For me, the key to understanding sustainability is to first understand societies and communities and how we can all work together. After all, even for all our differences and diversities, don’t we still share the same planet? The same sky? The same sun? When we view life, and, more specifically, human life this way, every action we take becomes intrinsically linked not only to each other, but also to our planet.
As mentioned before I started rambling about what I might have been in a past life, I’ve grown up by the beach. Walking home with bare feet and salt drying in my hair had become a routine by the time I was old enough to swim. As a child, summer meant wading out as the tide retreated to look for rockpools and hunt for crabs. Every stone would be turned over, every fish that swam by would be watched with wide eyes, and even though the seaweed terrified me (something I’ve never quite overcome, even at 20!) I always admired the different ways it grew and floated and carried with it schools of little fish and other creatures.
While I wouldn’t trade these memories for anything, they’ve come with the downside of witnessing first-hand how the state of our marine life has declined over the last two decades I’ve been alive. I’ve been fortunate enough to have parents who always placed emphasis on ‘green behaviour’ and sustainability, and growing up my mum taught me the importance of preservation and reducing waste. One of my fondest memories is the yearly harvests we’d have in the garden, and how putting my hands in the dirt and foraging for potatoes and other root vegetables felt like a strange sort of lucky dip.
This value and appreciation for life is something I want to pass on to other people, in whatever form I can. There is endless beauty in the world around us, and an amount of species that still to this day I can’t quite get my head around. It’s our job, as a society, as a community (there’s that word again!) to uphold and maintain the environments we live in. I’ll never forget the first time I held a bee in my hand, or chased ladybirds through my mum’s flowers, or watched birds and crabs and lizards and insects scuttle across the beaches.
These experiences are human, they are indiscriminate and open to all. Caring for and nurturing nature has the benefit of also teaching us how to care for and nurture each other. We are, after all, one species in a world with thousands of others, and I hope that in my time in the Student Green Office I’ll be able to share even a fraction of these values with you.
by Holly Steventon (she/they), SGO Project Officer