I grew up in central Scotland in the shadow of Scotland’s largest oil refinery in Grangemouth. As the orange glows from the chimney stacks would light up the sky at night, I would often ask myself what on earth all that smoke and fire was doing to our world. I did my first climate change project at age 14, alarmed by the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. Ever since then then I’ve been a campaigner for sustainability, justice and action on climate change. I studied these issues at university, did a PhD, and went on to become an academic, author and campaigner.
In recent years, I moved to Ireland and settled down in county Kildare. I married Kevin and have two wonderful boys. I took up a job working for Trócaire, one of Ireland’s leading international NGOs, as their Head of Policy and Advocacy. The reality of climate change, and what it really means, became all too real for me. In Trócaire, we became conscious of how the changing weather is impacting on the poorest of the poor, as our Still Feeling the Heat Report shows. It became blatantly obvious that what seems so far away is here already. We in rich countries might be in a position to ignore it, but if you rely on the rains in Africa or live on a tiny Pacific island, this is about survival. Having young children, moreover, has made my hugely aware that this threat is far from remote – it is going to affect my own children in ways we can hardly imagine. My mission in life is now to try and wake people up to this tragedy and what we need to do.