I am a fine artist who is deeply committed to fighting climate change.

I came to Israel in 2010, when I was eight, from the USA. After high school, I did my national service for the Green Network, teaching children and adults about climate science so they become agents of change and social and environmental activists. 

As a certified master swimming teacher and coach, I am now volunteering to teach evacuees swimming at Kibbutz Ein Gedi, together with Hadar Dikstein.

I teach people how to swim but I think it is helping them in many more ways after the trauma they experienced on October 7th. We offer some sense of therapy and normalcy.

According to the psychologists here, “The swimming school is an excellent mental solution for evacuees. It combines movement, a sense of competence, a daily routine, and especially a warm connection with sensitive and supportive instructors. It is better and more relevant than any psychological treatment at this stage.”

I was shocked by the events of October 7th. Being 21, I could see myself as any of the people at the Nova Festival. I have learned from both the Green Network and October 7th that if you feel anxiety about something (climate change/terrorism), do something. Volunteering and helping others make you feel empowered and really helps to conquer personal fears.

Ella Azaria instructing children of Ethiopian descent. Photo courtesy of Swimming Toward Resilience
Ella Azaria instructing children of Ethiopian descent. Photo courtesy of Swimming Toward Resilience

I belong to several different communities that work for change. I have been protesting since last year against the government and now for the hostages, so that is one community I am a part of. I am part of a community that is fighting climate change and working hard to educate people about it. I am also part of a volunteer community; in addition to the swim school, I have volunteered in agriculture due to the needs of my country after October 7th.

To help build resiliency at this moment, I think of what my skills are and examine the problems, then use my skills the best way I can to solve these problems and help others. Unfortunately, the previous generations have left us with a very broken world. When I see an unsolved problem, I try to solve it myself. It’s our generation, the young people, who need to make the world a better place.

I struggled before with dyslexia but now I use it as my superpower. My brain works in different ways than others around me and the different perspectives I bring often offer new approaches to solve problems and be creative.

I am hoping for everyone in our region to learn to live in equality and peace. I think that a great step toward would be for all of us to learn Hebrew, English, and Arabic — so that we could have a clearer dialogue with each other. I’d like to see this unity and stepping up to help each other become part of the country’s DNA.

I also wish the entire world would get to net zero by 2030, removing as much CO2 as they produce, to limit global warming. Emissions reduction would help us to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.