Growing up in the Philippines, 21-year-old Keziah Theresee Gerosano believed that dangerous natural disasters, such as droughts, floods, and landslides, were inevitable. The people facing them would need to find ways to adapt and accept that climate change was going to impact their environment,
But when she attended the 23rd session of the United Nations Youth Assembly in February 2019, she was connected to the Climate Reality Project. She saw the broad range of solutions they offered to the climate crisis, which inspired her to act. "It was there I realized that I am capable of being a catalyst of change, the type of change that the world badly needs," she said. "I knew I wanted to use my voice to amplify unheard voices, but it wasn't until 2020, when I started on my growth, that I was able to develop my voice.”
"I realized that I am capable of being a catalyst of change, the type of change that the world badly needs."
Keziah was then inspired to start a Climate Reality Chapter in her school to spread awareness on climate change, and her journey took off.
Now, she's committed to amplifying the voices of vulnerable communities affected by climate change and social discrimination.
"As a young Filipina, I not only serve as a voice to the young Filipino generation but as a catalyst in helping others discover their voice to amplify change," she said.
Keziah is a Climate Reality Leader and received training from Al Gore. She is also the Founder and Director of Project Pusaka, she oversees all of the organization's activities to forward its mission to address the environmental, social, and economic challenges faced by Filipino indigenous groups through permaculture. She and her team are currently working on a literacy program and a horticulture garden to improve the local ecosystem and empower the community through food security. "Having this leadership role gives me a purpose in life and has also inspired youth around the world to take action towards issues they care about in their local communities," she said.
Keziah was honored for her Environmental work through The ConversationaLIST, our annual honoree list recognizing exceptional Gen Z'ers making an impact simply by using their voices for good. In addition to her work within these organizations, Keziah uses her social media platforms to promote youth and women empowerment and spread awareness of climate change issues. “As a young Filipina, I not only serve as a voice to the young Filipino generation but as a catalyst in helping others discover their voice to amplify change,” she said.
“I not only serve as a voice to the young Filipino generation but as a catalyst in helping others discover their voice to amplify change.”
Although Keziah is still taking some time to reflect on what the future holds for her, she envisions herself running her own business selling eco-friendly feminine pads. She also wants to get involved in politics in the Philippines and put forward green policies and initiatives that drive economic development.
Overall, she hopes to be known as the young Filipina who saved the indigenous Subanen culture, a tribe indigenous to the Zamboanga peninsula area. She finds inspiration from her family to keep moving forward with this goal. “Without them, I wouldn't be the person I am now,” she said. “They drive me to work hard and set ambitious goals while helping me get up when all else fails.”
Keziah is passionate about having conversations that mentally challenge her and encourage her passion for learning. She is excited about The Conversationalist's mission to break open echo chambers and unify young people so they can come together and create change. "As pioneers of the future, we want the best for our future,” she said. “A future that is just, equitable, and sustainable. However, to do this, we need a platform that amplifies our voices. The Conversationalist gives us the channel we need to make our voices heard.”
"In any conversation, difficult or not, make it your goal to listen empathetically."
She hopes to continue to break open her echo chamber by using her voice to advocate for change and amplify the Filipino voice. “It has been my goal to genuinely listen to someone during a conversation," she said. "Even if they don't necessarily agree or listen to us, difficult conversations can catalyze growth and help us see different perspectives, which can help us develop creative and innovative ideas. In any conversation, difficult or not, make it your goal to listen empathetically."