A GLENGORMLEY girl is hoping to bring her campaign against climate change and fossil fuels to the world stage by securing her place in the finals of Miss Earth 2017.

Arlene Trainor is one of 16 finalists who will contest the north’s regional heat of the prestigious contest later this month, which will take place at the Playhouse Theatre in Derry on Sunday, May 28.

The overall winner will represent the north in the final in October, the prestigious environmental-themed pageant which promotes environmental awareness.

Miss Earth is celebrating its 17th year of beauty and responsibility and is one of the most prestigious pageants along with Miss World and Miss Universe. It aims to expand the tired ‘beauty pageant’ theme into something more substantial and relevant to the modern world.

Arlene explained that the competition focuses on the advocacy skills of each contestant.

“I had never heard much about the event before but after seeing some information about it on Facebook, I was really interested,” she said.

“People think it is like a beauty pageant but it is not about how you look or how skinny you are.

“The whole point of the competition is about advocacy – how each contestant can present their choice of environmental topic.”

The 20-year-old, who is a former Little Flower Girls pupil, had a keen interest in geography at school and is hoping her views on climate change can impress judges at the regional heat this month.

“I will be focusing on climate change and the effect of fossil fuels. In school, I studied geography, it was something that really intrigued me and of course is one of the big topics of world politics.

“I want to do my bit and have my say on the issue of climate change

“I’ve never done anything like this before. My nerves are wrecked but I am going to take it in my stride,” she laughed.

“I am really looking forward to taking part. My family and friends have been really supportive of me.”

Arlene is using her climate change ideas for the competition to support a well-known charity in the north by raising money for Derry-based group The Playtrail.

“As part of this year’s competition, I will be taking part in the Jungle NI 5K rampage on April 29 to raise money for The Playtrail in Derry,” she added.

“The Playtrail is a unique outdoor play and educational facility providing a range of OCN-accredited programmes for young adults with learning disabilities.

“I feel as if it is time to give back to people who give a lot of their time to help others and would ask everyone to support me to help raise money for the work and opportunities the charity provides.

“It’s not our disabilities, it’s our abilities that count.”

The regional winner will receive a trip of a lifetime to the world finals of Miss Earth 2017 and the chance to represent the north on the world stage.

To support Arlene, you’re invited to visit her Go Fund Me Page online at www.gofundme.com/