Athina van der Byl
This determined WWF Master’s intern has begun a journey within the conservation sector in the hope of bringing about positive environmental and social change.
We asked Athina for some insights into her journey up to now:
What led you to this career?
We often forget how certain activities affect the environment. My initial focus was environmental awareness and education but this ignited other facets of the environmental sector, such as resource management, environmental law and sustainable development.
What do you want to take away from your time as an intern?
The aim is to gain personal skills and to develop my career; internships can be used as platforms to shape ones career interests and profession, surely at the end of this internship I’ll know exactly which field I would like to work in within the environmental sector. Strong professional skills is also something I would like to learn together with the chance to meet new people with similar interests and ultimately acquiring good references. The ideal gain from an internship is to attain a full time career opportunity.
What issue would you like to be a part of addressing?
Changing our world to a sustainable world.
Charity begins at home, I am definitely passionate about local issues especially rural development. Growing up in a rural coastal area, one gets to learn how people interact with their natural environment, with two things likely to occur, either a disadvantaged community or a degraded environment. There is a major issue between linking rural development, natural resources and environmental protection. We have to recognise the importance of improving the quality of life of rural communities and also create awareness to ensure communities understand the need for natural resource conservation .
Who do you look to for inspiration?
Through all the adversities of my life, my parents strived at all times to give me the best that life had to offer. They taught me to have courage and to believe in all I aspire to be.
What role does your generation play in creating a better world?
In a world where so many challenges are against the youth we seem to strive for the better. In a world where inequality exists, political conflicts, poverty, and unemployment, we remain innovative and passionate and these are the attributes needed for an improved world.
We need to be positive role models for both current and future generations, thinking positive and helping others think the same. We need to be leaders showing resourcefulness, we should be creative using different platforms to create awareness and ultimately solving problems.
What makes our future so bright?
Our generation of young people are so analytical, we use logic and knowledge to solve so many issues. We are driven, passionate and hard working. And these are the core skills needed to make a difference.