Be the Change: Combining a Passion for Environmentalism with Higher Education

Interview with Alumni Vivien Habegger

Vivien Habegger was one of the founders of the environmental society at ISB. Now, an alumnus of the school, she is attending the Parsons School of Design in New York. She tells us how she has combined her passion and skills to further the cause for a better world.

Have you always been interested in protecting the environment?

My respect for the environment began at a young age. A big part of my respect came though travelling and seeing the issues firsthand. As a scuba diver this fragile underwater world has grown so closely to me and whenever I saw dead reefs it was heartbreaking but also very boring since the flourishing ecosystem had died. 

To combat this helpless feeling I felt, I dedicated all types of assignments at ISB to these environmental issues, which also further educated me. While I was doing all of these side tasks, my main focus was my HL IB art portfolio. My theme was conservation in oceans, and I primarily focused on some of the major issues, like plastic pollution for example.

With this portfolio I was admitted to Parsons and there I continued to use my art for social good. 

How have you taken this cause further with your studies at Parsons?

During my first semester I took a class called sustainable systems, in which I was required to create a project which would intervene and change a system. 

I wanted to use this project to use art for social good by shedding light on issues that I have seen while scuba diving. Knowing that I cannot change these issues alone has inspired me to give the people that do not care, a reason to. I created three educational videos which offer an initial insight to three major issues which take place in Oceans. The issues chosen were Plastic Pollution, Endangered Animals and Coral bleaching, as I was also able to incorporate some of my own footage through doing these topics. 

As for my medium, I decided to educate the audience through using videos as I felt that a visual way of learning can sometimes be the most effective. This also allowed me to use pathos to appeal to the viewers by using graphic videos of dead animals. Furthermore, this allowed me to create this three part series which would encourage the viewers to watch all three videos in such a short amount of time. As for my audience, I chose to target students in school or college since they are the future generation who can demand for change. 

With this demographic in mind I specifically chose different design elements to fit this audience. I feel that these videos are a great introduction about problems in oceans, and could be used at earth week or in a science class as well. 

I hope that with these videos I was able to inspire, or educate people to change their lifestyle or to also make people aware of these issues. Since Students at ISB are my target audience I wanted to share these so they will hopefully serve their purpose.

Click below for each video 

Part 1: Plastic Pollution

Part 2: Endangered Species

Part 3: Coral Bleaching

Do you have any plans for future environmental projects?

Most definitely! I dedicated almost all of my studio work in this first semester at Parsons to environmental issues,

such as global warming and overconsumption. I feel that my artwork is driven by these issues, and that I want to use my art to make a statement for my semesters to come. I am inspired by artists like Keith Haring and Banksy, and discovered these during my IB art comparative study. I love the art they do and have learned a lot from their works. 

What I love about Parsons is that they always give students a theme, such as memory, and then this gives me the opportunity to reflect on negative environmental encounters that I have had. Having these starting points has made it extremely easy for me to follow this path of creating art for social good. Furthermore, I received credit from attending the ISB and receiving certain grades, which has given me the ability to possibly even do a minor in Environmental studies, which would be so exciting. 

What advice would you give for fellow students who want to become involved in environmental activism? 

I think anyone who wants to participate in environmental activism is incredible, and has really understood the issues and why we should be fighting. As a founder, and working early on it was so fascinating to see so many students joining the environmental society and I think we built up a wonderful community, and have driven the ISB into an Eco-school. As for advice, I would encourage students to participate, by joining the society or attending events as this would help so much, to cause change. Furthermore, I believe that working on one's own carbon footprint is also really important. I personally, was fortunate to have this creative side in which I was able to create environmental activist artworks, but for some students maybe a path in biology or Geography may also lead to a future working closely with environmental issues. There are many other things you can do, like donating, picking up trash, and buying a bracelet. I think researching is also a big step in knowing what you stand for, and this can make you even more passionate about a certain issue. 


For more information on sustainability at ISB visit here.



Alumni Focus