‘My purpose in life is to be a voice of positive change in my society.’ – Susan Garland Okoye

Susan Garland Okoye is an author and environmentalist, who is passionate about fighting the ongoing climate change crisis and ensuring that the earth is preserved for generations to come.

After winning the Miss Earth pageant in 2019, Susan embarked on a tree-planting project, where she plans to plant one million trees across six countries of the world. The project is aimed at reducing the adverse effects of climate change on the earth, and she has listed the benefitting countries like Nigeria, the Philippines, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Kenya, and Rwanda.

The Irish-Nigerian model who got involved in the Miss Earth beauty pageant because it has something in common with her vision and goal in life also represented Nigeria at the Miss Earth World Pageant in 2019. She made the top ten at the glamorous pageant.

Susan carries out her environment and climate change-related projects through her foundation, Beyond Garland Initiative, and her goal as she authors books is to translate each book sale to the planting of two trees in the countries outlined.

Her first book is The Earth is Important Too while A Dying Earth: Race to Stop Climate change and Save the Earth is her second book. A book best described as an exposition of the causes and effects of Fulani herdsmen migration from northern to southern Nigeria, the highest carbon emitters amongst nations of the world, and efforts made by these nations to reduce and control emissions to sustainable levels by the year 2030.

Read our Q & A with Susan and be inspired.

In Three Words, how would you describe Susan Garland Okoye?

Confident, Calm, and High-achieving.

Please share a little bit about your background.

My name is Susan Garland Okoye. I am the last born of my family and also the only girl. I’m an Irish-Nigerian model and Ex-Miss Earth Nigeria 2019. I’m married with 1 child. I studied Environmental Management as my undergraduate studies. I’m currently starting my Master in Energy Management in October. I’m an Environmentalist and very passionate about fighting climate change crises. I am an Author of 2 books on climate change (The Earth is Important Too & A Dying Earth).

What do you consider your greatest achievement in your life so far?

Having my beautiful baby girl.

Tell us how your journey to becoming an author.

My journey of becoming an Author started after winning the Miss Earth pageant in 2019, I embarked on a tree-planting project, where I plan to plant one million trees across six countries of the world. The project is aimed at reducing the adverse effects of climate change on the earth, and the benefitting countries are; Nigeria, the Philippines, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Kenya, and Rwanda. In other to raise funds to achieve my goals of planting 1 million trees in the countries mentioned above through my foundation Beyond Garland Initiative I decided to become an Author to create awareness and educate people about Climate Change and the actions they can take to fight climate change. Hence, raise funds for our tree planting project.

Your books focus on managing climate catastrophe, why did you decide on this path, and where did your passion for environmental change stem from?

I decided to write my books because I believe it’s time to launch awareness programs through my Foundation to educate people about climate change in Nigeria and ensure that Climate Change will be introduced as a curriculum in our schools and also to raise funds for my 1 million tree planting project as earlier mentioned. 

Since I was a kid, I have always had a passion to be a voice for environmental protection which is why I studied Environmental management. My passion came from an experience I had in my childhood that changed my life for good and influenced my decision to be an Environmental Advocate since I was 6years old. As I was growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, I admired flowers planted in my compound until one morning that I woke up, and everywhere was flooded and the flowers I admired so much were dead. I was so heartbroken and on the following day in school, I told my school teacher who educated me about flooding and the environmental challenges we face in Nigeria. From that day, I knew exactly that nothing else matters to me except being a voice and a role model for environmental awareness and responsibility. Since then I began my journey to become a voice for change. This is why I participated in the Miss Earth Nigeria Beauty pageant because it is the only pageantry in the world that promotes environmental responsibility.

I was never a typical pageant girl but because of my undying love for our environment and because I needed a platform for my campaign about sustainability and environmental protection I had to participate. I won the Miss Earth Nigeria 2019 and came out top 10 in the international competition. Nigerians need to be enlightened about climate change and our voice must be heard. It is time for a change. This is why I have launched a foundation called Beyond Garland Initiative that is focused on environmental awareness and sustainability.

Would you say you know your purpose in life? If Yes, how did you come to this realization?

My purpose in life is to be a voice of positive change in my society and I realized this when I discovered my burning desire to fight climate change and helping to better the lives of people around me.

What inspires you?

Honestly, my only inspiration in life is God. God never fails but man does always.

What advice can you offer to younger women looking to take up space as an Environmental Advocate or Entrepreneur?

My advice is for them to be passionate about the environment.

What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?

Never give up on your dreams and your goals in life and see every challenge as an opportunity for growth.

Where do you draw strength on days when you feel no motivation to get things done?

I draw strength from my husband & from God all the time. 

What is your take on “Women Supporting Women”?

I believe when women support each other the world will definitely be a better place. Women should stop hating themselves & being envious of each other if we must grow and run this world. The countries being ruled by women are doing exceptionally well. Imagine if women would support each other, this means we will take over & run this world.

Time travel or teleportation?

Time travel

What would you like to be remembered for?

I’d like to be remembered as an Environmentalist who redefined activism and contributed greatly to fighting climate change.

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