Ana Hanhausen Shares Her Experience In Being Recognized for Her Environmental Work 

Earlier this year, the Youth Merit award ceremony was held for citizens between the ages of 12 and 29, bestowed by the Congress of Mexico City. The award was given to six young people who excelled in different fields. I had the honor of being awarded in the environmental field for my activities in 2018 and 2019.

I, like many people, had no idea that the Congress granted this type of recognition. I want to tell you about my experience at the event and what I did to receive this award.

Ana Hanhausen

Ana Hanhausen proudly showcasing her Youth Merit Award.

A few years ago, I was not very involved in environmental issues, as I didn’t know much about them. One day I decided to watch A Plastic Ocean on Netflix, I was so shocked by the topic and it made me feel so sad that I decided to do more research on this and other environmental problems. After watching many documentaries, reading articles and books and watching videos, I realized that I could not know all this information about the damage we do to the planet and remain silent. It was then when I decided to collaborate in the organization of an international sustainability congress at my university as well as to join CamBIO, an environmental student group. As a result of this, I was able to learn more about the subject and I had the opportunity to meet many people who work on implementing solutions to environmental problems in various countries.

A few months later, I had the opportunity to join Plastic Oceans Mexico to collaborate and achieve positive changes in the environment by raising awareness of the problem of plastic pollution in the ocean. I was later invited as a speaker and panelist to different conferences, courses and forums, including the Second World Sustainable Development Forum. It was for my work to raise awareness among young people on environmental issues that I received the youth merit medal this February 20th.

Ana HanhausenWhat I want to share with this is that we can all start with small actions to achieve change. It’s only a matter of being informed and being motivated to generate a positive impact. The medal makes me very happy, not because it is an award I won, but because it shows that the message of young Mexican citizens is being transmitted. The effort to change people’s mentality is a continuous process that needs daily work, but you really see changes and improvements if you are persistent.

The event and the medal also present a great opportunity, since they show that the voice of all young people working for the environment is being heard and recognized, not only by those close to us but also by the government and companies, who through their decisions can generate changes on a larger scale. Let us hope that the awarding of the environmental youth medal of merit is the first of many actions that the government takes to recognize our concerns and find solutions to various environmental problems through the implementation of legislation that protects our planet.

Ana Hanhausen is a Special Projects Coordinator for Plastic Oceans Mexico and is one of the leading young environmental activists in Mexico City. She is also an Honorary Mentor of POP Ocean, an Initiative by the POP Movement; the North America Sub-region coordinator for YOUNGO Ocean’s Voice; and Ana is part of Cambio Colectivo, a youth-led environmental initiative in Mexico. She has a degree in chemical engineering from La Universidad Iberoamericana.