Future Champion Sara Santa Maria: By 2030 I’d like to be…

By Sara Santa Maria

By 2030 I’d love to be… Alive.

Living in a world that isn’t constantly worrying about the climate crisis.

Climate change is the biggest issue that is currently facing our society. And honestly, I am not seeing our leaders doing enough to prevent irreversible damage. As individuals, we are struggling to deal with the immense pressure of this rapid event. We are haunted by the lingering consequences in the back of our minds. So why are we still not doing anything?

As humans we are so fortunate to be these intellectual beings. We can communicate and move with such ease. Our species has formed civilisations and built technology from the ground, up. And yet cannot understand the repercussions of our actions. Our civilisations are created from materials that we have exploited for our gain, our technology relies on substances that ruin our climate, our cities are built on the land that were once home to species other than our own but are now infested with destruction and waste. Our actions have consequences, and we must do something about it.

School Strike for Climate Sydney Electorate Team meeting

I know that I am only one person with a huge ambition. But I am also one of many teenagers that is taking action at an achievable level. This year I joined the School Strike for Climate (SS4C) Sydney Team. I know that to some the idea of missing valuable lessons seems unnecessary, however the climate crisis will not wait for me to finish school. At SS4C, I met a number of like-minded individuals who were interested in bringing attention to this important matter.

These are the actions that I am taking at a small scale. By 2030, I would love to be assisting in the climate crisis at a much larger scale. Of course, at my age I am still considering the numerous career pathways that I could follow.

Aerospace engineer

Air transportation has some of the largest carbon footprints in the transportation industry. For example, National Geographic pins the carbon dioxide per passenger on a commercial flight at 75.3kg. As an aerospace engineer, I’d love to work on designing planes to run completely on renewable energy. Producing energy efficient and sustainable air transport could mean that number could drop from 75.3kg of carbon dioxide to 0.

Chemical engineer

In the near future, I would like to work on carbon removal. Renewable energy is already developing at such an outstanding rate and is helping to stop the release of carbon into our atmosphere. So as a chemical engineer, I would develop technologies to remove the carbon that is already in our atmosphere. While trees and plants are most effective at this, climate change has caused damage to many forests that many take years to return to their former state.

Myself at Google Australia corporate office for University of Sydney Explore Engineering Winter School 2018
Textile/materials engineer

I have always had a passion for sewing and textiles. But I know that many fabrics today are made of polyester and cotton. While cotton is a natural resource, it requires a significant amount of water to grow. Polyester fabrics are produced using harmful chemicals and when washed polyester fabrics release microfibres. These fibres are microplastics, which can harm marine life. Producing fabrics with minimal environmental impacts would allow many people, like myself, to complete textile projects without damaging the environment.


By 2030 I’d love to continue speaking up about climate change. I’d like to continue to be an activist and persuade our government to act. Except by 2030, I’d like to be taking more action. By then I will be an adult, so I’ll be able to see firsthand the work being done to combat climate change and apply my skills to these projects. I would love to be a leader in the STEM field as well as a leader in climate activism.

Greta Thunberg School Strike Week 52 via Facebook

By 2030, I could take up one of these, none of these or all of these options. Whether I will be designing, engineering or protesting, one thing will always stay the same. My passion for action towards this ever changing climate.

Greta Thunberg is a huge inspiration to me, especially as a young person who is also passionate about climate action. Her ability to bring so much awareness at her age motivates myself to attempt to do the same. I would love to meet Greta Thunberg by 2030 and work with her to design a future that is sustainable in all ways possible.

I have grown up in a world where the temperatures and sea levels are constantly rising and where our wildlife are suffering for our inaction. As a young person today, I understand the urgency to deal with climate change before it’s effects become unchangeable. I understand that we all need to act so that my generation will have a future to look forward to. I understand that the time to act is now.

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