Jelena is the inspiration behind Green Resident, a project that engages local people in developing a sustainable energy community. Having initiated a successful scheme in Borough, south London, Jelena took the idea – together with support from Think Big – with her, when she moved to Cardiff.
Green resident provides training and special events to help residents find ways to reduce their CO2 emissions – with a prize going to the household that cuts their energy consumption the most.
Jelena highlights the social, as well as the economic and environmental benefits: “Community events – like the energy efficiency training – bring the community together, encourage participation and increase community spirit. Saving energy and sustainable activities help to build a responsible community – and they reduce residents’ utility bills!”
As a result of her proven leadership skills and the innovative eco-solutions shown while running her Think Big project, Jelena was selected by the British Council to represent the voice of youth at COP18, the United Nations Climate Change conference, held in Doha, Qatar in December 2012.
Jelena reports back on her trip:
This was a great opportunity to represent the voice of young people, promote my community project and meet with senior decision-makers from influential organisations. I balanced my time between representing youth and promoting my Think Big community project, with presentations, meetings and networking.
Every day we had a chance to meet people from very different backgrounds and with different views: from young people to decision-makers. I also had a great opportunity to present my project to the international youth group in Doha. It was very exciting! I was able to share my own experience on community engagement, project management and fund raising.
We had a great afternoon session with Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change [pictured left with Jelena], where we were able to discuss the role of women in climate change. We also visited local schools and universities, through an HSBC-sponsored programme that raised Qatari students’ awareness of climate change, informed them about our projects and experiences and inspired them to take positive action.
Doha will always stay in my mind. I hope that the experience and networking opportunities I gained from COP18, will feed into building a sustainable community in Wales. I feel inspired and energized to get back and continue my work on my sustainable community project.
Many thanks to ThinkBig for the great opportunity to be a part of this great event.
UK Youth is a partner in the Think Big initiative, providing training and support for applicants.
Click here for more on Think Big with O2.
Click here for the full story of Jelena’s involvement with Think Big.
Click here to read Jelena’s report on the COP 18 event.