Youth Advisory Council
The World Ocean Day Youth Advisory Council helps develop World Ocean Day as a unique opportunity to raise the profile of our shared ocean and connect and unite youth and others around our blue planet, with the focus on action for a healthier ocean and climate and more sustainable society.
Adam Zhou is in his second year on the Council. He is the founder of Earth Savers, an organization that has been recognized as the ranked #1 UNESCO high school organization in the Philippines, and as president, he has also been ranked #1 UNESCO youth leader in the country. The organization's flagship project, Project SWAP, has been featured in a National Geographic documentary for its upcycling awareness and educational programs and is the recent recipient of the Young Explorer Grant. He has conducted environmental research and created a climate change vulnerability framework that has been recognized in multiple international conferences and published in the IOPScience Journal. He is also one of 20 international scholars to work in the fully funded Samsung Engineering Environmental Engineering Academy. He has interned at the Asian Development Bank and delegated in the Asia Clean Energy Forum, conducting proposals on optimizing a sustainable transportation system in the Philippines.
Apart from his environmental interests, he is also heavily involved in the creative writing sphere. He is the author of In Taking Apart a Kaleidoscope from Indolent Books, published in December 2019, with over 30 other publications available online and in print. He is a winner of the Norman Maclean Non-Fiction Award, the Kathy Carlson and Emily Stauffer Award, and was one of ten high school writers included in Hyphen magazine’s Youth Poetry Folio for National Poetry Month in 2019. His writing heavily revolves around the themes of Chinese culture and Filipino politics.
He is currently taking a gap year before heading to Harvard University.
Arya Yurdacan is in her second year on the Council. She is a 19-year-old entrepreneur from Istanbul, Turkey. She believes that the World is a global country and being a global citizen is the overall nationality for all people. Everyone, everything is linked to each other and one movement affects the others. This is why she thinks and acts globally. One of Arya’s biggest aims is to improve lives through innovative solutions and empowering, inspiring people to dream big. She stated that ‘balancing one’s innovation, knowledge, and hard work with values, passion, and dedication creates leaders best equipped to change the world.’ She has realized that she can touch others’ lives by using her skills and developing global projects.
For her, real success is being able to touch people’s lives and making a positive impact on them.
She plans her projects to add positive outcomes not only for herself and for her environment but also the World. Living in a country with three sides covered with sea and spending her summertime on an island since her childhood, brings her closer to the sea. Her passion for the ocean started at the age of six when her parents had a sailing boat and joined rallies. After visiting different continents surrounding different parts of the ocean, she started to make visits to the north. She analyzed the arctic life, read the research, watched documentaries that derived attention to the ending of ocean life. She is the CEO and Co-founder of the Entella company. With her team she invented the machine, Mareen, to combat sea pollution by collecting solid waste and creating awareness.
The short introductory film about the ocean and her project was on the prime time news and daily newspapers. She gave live interviews and was invited to TV programs. Her company was chosen as the Company of the Year in the JA (Junior Achievement) Europe among 30,000 enterprises from 40 countries and also received the FedEx Access Award for connectivity and sustainability. She also gives mentorship to startups from different countries.
Arya is aware that it is very important to have the power and network to raise the awareness of others and motivate them to act. She thinks it is not enough to know the subject or have an idea for a project; it’s also very important to know how to turn it into action. Her desire, hard work, focus on her goal, and sustainable projects brought her an invaluable title. In August 2020, she was elected as one of ’20 the most talented entrepreneurs under the age of 20’ in Europe’s ‘20 under 20’.
She will implement her learnings to add to and empower the impact of World Ocean Day. She is excited to share her ideas, develop projects with the other Council members. Arya will also add different points of view and vision. Joining the other members coming from different backgrounds, Arya is honored to work with the World Ocean Day Youth Advisory Council and contribute to promoting World Ocean Day.
Belinda Tian-Wing Ng
Belinda Tian-Wing Ng
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Belinda is a passionate 21-year old environmentalist. An avid windsurfer, her passion for ocean conservation began upon discovering all the waste across Hong Kong’s beaches and coastal shorelines at the age of fourteen. Since then,
Belinda has spearheaded various environmental initiatives focused on education, advocacy, and the empowerment of young people for issues concerning marine plastic pollution in alliance with local and international NGOs.
Some of these projects include high school campaigns about recycling, beach clean-ups, and most recently, a podcast about sustainability in Asia featuring prominent professionals across numerous sectors. Last year, she also co-founded the youth-led Hong Kong-based podcast 'Sustain-a-pod', which empowers youth to engage in direct dialogue with sustainability activists and professionals.
She is currently pursuing an MSc in Environmental Technology specialising in Resource Management at Imperial College London. Her interests lie in the intersectional nature of sustainable management of our oceans, innovation, community engagement, and data science.
An experienced writer, Belinda has published numerous self-researched articles and interviews with experts for Cambridge University’s Varsity newspaper, The Geographical Society Magazine (COMPASS), and Climatalk, an international student-led magazine on climate change issues. She has been an op-ed columnist and feature article writer for South China Morning Post since 2014. Belinda seeks to continue contributing towards innovative solutions addressing the most pressing issues facing ocean health and biodiversity today as a future entrepreneur.
She is currently in her final year of university pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Geography at the University of Cambridge. Her interests lie in the intersectional nature of ocean conservation, technology, data science, and sustainability. She is the co-founder of an app at university which provides ways in which students can reduce their carbon emissions and waste production from food consumption, which won Grand Prize at Cambridge University’s ‘Gamifying Decarbonization’ competition. As a keen writer, she has also published numerous articles focused on various facets of environmental conservation for the Cambridge University Geographical Society’s ‘COMPASS’ magazine and Varsity student newspaper. Belinda seeks to continue contributing towards innovative solutions addressing the most pressing issues facing ocean health and biodiversity today, with aspirations to become a social and environmental entrepreneur. With her particular passion for education and youth empowerment, she hopes to empower fellow young people by fostering a culture of empathy and mutual support in the joint effort to advocate and make a difference for a more sustainable future.
Ee Jenn Lee
Ee Jenn Lee
Ee Jenn is in her second year on the Council. She is a 16-year-old student living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. While she lives in the city, some of her best memories have been made by the ocean – not a surprise, as Malaysia has almost 900 islands! However, she has noticed the number of pristine beaches dwindling and that what few biodiverse habitats are left are becoming overrun by irresponsible tourism. She hopes that the awareness raised by World Ocean Day can help reverse these trends.
Although she harbors a special love for oceans and other bodies of water, she is also passionate about protecting the environment as a whole. After years of volunteering in sporadic conservation efforts, Ee Jenn decided to become more involved in environmental activism this year as the COVID-19 pandemic helped her become even more aware of the impacts of climate change, such as its role in the transmission of pathogens. She also sees the wake of the pandemic as an opportunity for countries to rebuild in a more sustainable manner.
Ee Jenn joined her school’s Green student leadership team, volunteered and fundraised for a food rescue NGO that she felt tackled both hunger and the environmental impacts of food waste, and joined the Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD), a youth-led climate organization. Although she has only recently joined MYD, she has worked on, among other projects, pitch decks for a program to increase public engagement with climate issues. She is also the Media and Communications Lead for Malaysia’s Local Conference of Youth (LCOY), a platform for youth to connect, learn more about climate action, and interact with experts and policymakers.
Aside from her environmental work, Ee Jenn is also a national debater and is interested in politics and economics, specifically exploring how these fields can help ensure ocean protection. She hopes to bring some of these perspectives to the table and is incredibly excited about this opportunity to inspire change. Above all, she looks forward to the next time she can visit the ocean.
Estefanía Aphang is in her second year on the Council. She is a 16-year-old aspiring ocean and climate activist, who lives in Lima, Perú, and has a strong and deep connection with the ocean. She attends San Silvestre School and is currently apart of the ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) Council, Operation Smile Club, MUN (Model United Nations) club, Debate club, Ocean club. She is also the Sustainability and Environmental Tribe leader and part of other extracurricular activities.
Her burning passion for living a sustainable lifestyle, taking care of the environment, and protecting our oceans has highly motivated her to take part in different projects from empowerment and awareness conferences to service programs, where she was able to inspire the other young people to be change-makers and that every small action can make a difference.
Her active involvement in Round Square conferences about environmentalism and other activities related to the dreadful environmental issues (including single-use plastic, deforestation, pollution, natural disaster, and the fast fashion industry), lead to being a part of the ESD Council, where she demonstrated her keen interest and enthusiasm for learning more and sharing her knowledge about these severe threats, as well as sharing her passion for protecting our world. She got to express her fascination with plants and growing lots of plants, trees, flowers, fruits, and vegetables, as well as sharing her extreme passion for the conservation of the ocean. She also has expressed her concern for environmental issues through art to transmit a powerful message.
She had a lot of contact with the ocean since Lima is in the coastal part of Peru and she often went to the beach, igniting her love for the magnificent ocean. Every time she went, she was appalled by the massive amount of pollution and garbage found, highly motivating her to be eager to take part in the beach cleanings. She is aware that there are 8 million metric tons of plastic dumped each year into our ocean, and that by 2050 the ocean plastic will outweigh the ocean fish. She is also determined to protect the ocean because of all the water pollution that exacerbates climate change.
Estefanía loves marine species and the fact that they are at high risk, because of the 5.25 trillion macro and microplastic pieces floating in the open ocean, truly concerns her. That’s why through competitions and campaigns, she encourages the making of ecobricks at her school, which is a way to safely secure plastic out of the biosphere to make reusable building blocks for various projects that create green spaces.
By being part of the World Ocean Day Youth Advisory Council, Estefania hopes to inspire change for marine conservation and for young people to be encouraged and inspired to acknowledge the importance of being sustainable and taking care of our ocean and environment, as well as taking action, since there is no planet B and the Sustainable Development Goals need to be achieved. Estefanía strongly believes in the phrase by Wangari Maathai: “It’s the little things citizens do. That’s what will make the difference.”
Jade is in her first year on the Council. She is a seventeen-year-old high school student based in Cape Town, South Africa. Although she was born in South Africa, Jade spent a decade living in the Fiji Islands, where she developed a close relationship with the oceans and a passion for climate and environmental activism. Jade’s passion for the ocean heightened at 14 after she conducted research on microplastic concentration in the Fiji coastal area for her school science fair before going on to present her findings and the importance of ocean conservation and youth-led climate action at corporate events and at the 2019 World Ocean Day event in Suva, organize went on to organize school-based oceans awareness events and at 16, continued gaining experience in her journey towards becoming a youth activist by founding her own ocean action organization, Ocean Location - a youth powered initiative dedicated to informing, inspiring and activating young people in the fight to protect and conserve the oceans.
In addition to her commitment and dedication to saving the oceans and the climate, Jade is a gender equality activist, working with the organization Global Girlhood first as a journalist and now as part of their leadership team. She is also a writer, having contributed to several youth-run magazines and publications alongside her position as founder and editor-in-chief of both her school newspaper and InspiHER Media. In addition, Jade’s work as a journalist has brought her to the heart of The Cramm, a newsletter written by youth for youth that is dedicated to informing young people of what matters in the world in a voice that speaks to them, where she works avidly within the organization’s editorial team and as a project coordinator for several projects under the organizations banner.
Jade’s connection to activism, the oceans and the climate is informed by her identity both as a South African and resident of Fiji, as living in these places has taught her the importance of fighting for change, the obligation to create a better future, and the absolute importance of ocean conservation as an environmental and cultural issue. Jade is committed to creating spaces of empowerment for young people and recognizing the difference between inspiration and empowerment when it comes to youth activism. Inspiration, or the desire to cause and create change is everywhere, however that inspiration rarely becomes empowerment. For young people, there are few spaces where youth agency, skills and initiative are recognized and valued. As a result, young people are often set adrift with no guidance in the organizing space and no clue how to make meaningful, tangible and transformative change - in short, they are inspired but not empowered. Through her work with the youth advisory council and Ocean Location, Jade hopes to change this, building a movement of young people armed with the inspiration and empowerment required to power the climate and environmental revolution so that we can create a world worth fighting for.
Joe is in his first year on the Council. Born and raised on the coast of Cardigan Bay, he has been an ocean lover all his life. But as he has grown older, this childhood love has grown into a deeper appreciation for the ocean’s integral role in the Earth’s life support system and a passion to see it protected. An avid open-water swimmer and paddleboarder, Joe often jokes that the ocean is his natural habitat.
When not in the ocean, Joe is the Conventions and Policy Officer at Reserva: The Youth Land Trust, an organisation that empowers young people to make a measurable difference to conservation. Reserva provides a new way of conservation that is youth-led and youth-funded with inclusion of local and indigenous knowledge, something he is extremely passionate about. Joe is the Reserva representative in several organisations such as the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN), the Youth for Our Planet (YfOP) Steering Committee and the UN Environment Programme Major Group for Children and Youth.
Joe is also the Head of Campaigns and Ocean Coordinator at UK Youth for Nature, the national chapter of Youth for Our Planet and the UK’s leading youth-led network calling on the politicians & governments of the UK to take urgent action and tackle the loss of nature. In this role, Joe works to ensure that UKY4N’s campaigns and youth voices are promoted and heard by those in power. As the Ocean Coordinator, Joe actively managed UKY4N’s successful ocean campaign including organizing and participating in a World Ocean Day webinar attended by several ministers and NGOs. Joe also facilitated the creation of an ocean-based mural in his hometown of Aberystwyth that pays homage to the incredible marine biodiversity of Cardigan Bay. Acting as a hub for marine conservation and storytelling in the community, his aim is to recreate this project on a global scale to build love and appreciation for the sea through the power of art and communication.
Joe holds several other positions in environmental advocacy. He is an Editor and Content Creator at An Hour in the Deep, an oceans-based e-magazine; a coordinator at the newly formed Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Youth Network (BYN), which aims to become a youth constituency of the BBNJ (High Seas) Treaty; Advisor and Organizer for the inaugural Youth for Ocean Summit in November 2021.
In addition to these advocacy roles, Joe achieved a First-Class Honours Degree in BSc Ecology and Environmental Biology at Imperial College London where he researched predictors for ecosystem tipping points. He has recently completed a MSc Environmental Change, Impact, and Adaptation at Aberystwyth University with a research focus on youth involvement in environmental governance.
He is thrilled to join the Youth Advisory Council to continue its work.
Jose Marie Eslopor
Jose Marie Eslopor
Jose Marie is in his second year on the Council. Born and raised in one of the World Mega Biodiversity countries, he was able to witness the marvel and essence of the Philippine seas. At a very young age, he loved the seas as if it were a part of him, making sea creatures as his imaginary friends – the whales, dolphins, and turtles. This deep connection with the ocean gave all the reason for this 23-year-old seatizen to move out from the small coastal city of Ormoc to the Wester Visayas region to seek his passion and purpose in life.
Jose Marie Eslopor is taking up a Master of Marine Affairs at the University of the Philippines Visayas in Miagao, Iloilo. His bond with the seas led him to volunteer in a coastal clean-up in 2016, which eventually drew him towards advocating for marine conservation and combatting plastic pollution. In this journey he was able to radiate his advocacy towards his community and conveyed the essence of marine conservation through recalibrating his own actions and adapting a sustainable lifestyle.
His participation in environmental camps gave leeway for him to implement conservation activities in his community and teach marine conservation to Indigenous youth, youth in coastal communities, and youth in tourism and government sector.
He seeks to continue his dedication to marine conservation through coastal clean-up whenever he goes out for a quick dive and in spite of the pandemic, he realizes that he could continue his advocacy by using social media to promote marine conservation online and embody the KnowMADic identity as it radiates “Knowing that you are Making A Difference” while sailing the seas.
Kal is in his first year on the Council. Growing up among the beaches and waterways of Sydney Australia, Kal Glanznig has always been passionate for protecting the oceans. As an Australian representative water polo player, he has seen firsthand through travels nationally and internationally the issue of global plastic pollution. In 2019, determined to make a difference to keep his local beaches clean, through partnering with the local business chamber he started Plastic Free Cronulla, a top-down and bottom-up movement encouraging business and the community to reduce plastic usage. Since launching, the initiative’s popularity has exploded with majority of Cronulla businesses, major events and festivals actively seeking to reduce their plastic as well as organizing community beach clean ups.
He has gathered support of Plastic Free Cronulla from all levels of Government, working towards legislating bans of single-use plastics in his state of NSW & Australia including working with Prime Minister Scott Morrison who is a vocal supporter of Plastic Free Cronulla. Further to working with businesses and events, Kal strives to grow awareness of ocean conservation and plastic pollution through speaking in schools, conferences, businesses and community events.
Kal was awarded Young Australian of the Year 2020 for the Sutherland Shire region and his work has been featured in many Australian media. Whilst in high-school he also drove the first student led school solar-panel installation in Australia raising $100,000 for his school to install a 100kW system in 2018. Encouraging other leaders across Australia to do the same through giving guest speeches and feature articles in the ABC & Reneweconomy.
Currently studying at the University of Sydney, Kal was awarded one of two 2021 Unibank Leaders Scholarship as well as the University of Sydney Blue & Gold Scholarship for his environmental leadership. Outside of his sporting and environmental pursuits he runs the marketing of swimwear company Delfina Sport and is currently changing processes to derive materials from 80% recycled plastic bottles.
Kal’s initiatives have inspired Australians to make changes in their own lives and address environmental problems. He looks forward to collaborating on a world stage and driving maximum impact.
Laura is in her first year on the Council. She is a 21 year old medical student from Zimbabwe. One of her aspirations is to influence positive change in the Zimbabwean Healthcare system, by saving lives one day at a time. She hopes to pursue a career in neurosurgery.
She is also passionate about achieving the United Nations Sustainable Goals by 2030, with a particular interest in Good Health and Wellbeing, Climate Action, Life Below Water and Responsible Consumption and Production.
She has spent the last 4 years researching ways to conserve coral and prevent the extinction of this delicate species, and along with some colleagues, she devised a proof of concept project entitled ‘Coral Reef Controller’. The team searched for ways to build a nursery to protect these marine species from current issues associated with climate change.
Currently Laura is working on publishing the project as a research paper, with hopes of one day being able to implement the idea and see its effects produce tangible results. She also writes other articles that highlight key issues in the marine ‘world’ to raise awareness and educate people on the issues that exist, why drastic action is needed, and how to address the situation.
In her spare time, Laura enjoys reading, playing tennis, baking and researching.
Lela DeVine is in her second year on the Council. She is a senior at Waiakea High School from Hilo, Hawaii. A lab member at the Daniel K.Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and a NAUI advanced open water SCUBA diver, Lela has first-handedly experienced the changing marine environment and the issues that come with it. She has conducted research for six years through a combination of marine biology and environmental sciences and has recently shifted her course of research to marine pharmacology, where she studies potential marine anticancer-based pharmaceutical compounds.
Her most recent publication, titled “Utilizing HLPC to Analyze the Presence of Anti-cancerous Compounds Residing from the Isolate FM1005 (Xylariasp.) Derived from Sinulariadensa”, places focus on marine sources that specifically have prominent antiproliferative effects against prostate and ovarian cancer cell lines. This research advanced Lela to become a Regeneron ISEF (International Science and Engineering Fair) Finalist. With her newly published research, she is attacking pressing medical issues through conservation, targeting, utilizing, prioritizing, and addressing environmental dangers and stressors within the reef. Her goals to increase youth activism, environmental education, and outreach has stemmed from her time as an EarthEcho Youth Leadership Council Member.
She has received over 30 awards for her research in her time competing in science fairs at the district and state levels from organizations such as NOAA, The Society for In-Vitro Biology, the US Tripler Army Medical Center, the Office for Naval Research, and The Society for the Science and the Public. Lela has extensive experience in public speaking through being a semifinalist and competitor in the Pacific Symposium for Science and Sustainability for the past 3 years, and is part of HOSA Future Health Professionals, ranking top 10 for public speaking in the state where she has brought light upon marine-based environmental issues and the medical field.
Her work in environmental outreach has allowed her to focus on providing a safe space for youth to remain innovative and driven with aspirations in policy, action, and changemaking to reach their collective goals.
Marina Castello Rigo
Marina Castello Rigo
Marina is in her first year on the Council. She was born on the island of Mallorca and was taught to love and care for the ocean since she was a child. It can be said she learned to swim before she could even walk. Her father introduced her to her adventurous water sports such as sailing & scuba diving, and her mother taught her to slow down and notice the wonderful and mesmerizing beauty nature has to offer.
Marina was first introduced to the world of ocean conservation while doing her scuba diving Divemaster and Instructor courses in Bali, Indonesia. She experienced with her own eyes the horrifying plastic pollution situation the whole island was in - on land and in the water - and started to get involved and take part in beach clean-ups.
She then extended her stay in Bali and started to study a Bachelor in International Hospitality Management. Alongside her studies, during the weekends she became very involved in Coral Conservation with a dive center called Calypso Diving Bali. She took the Ocean Gardener Coral Diver course and later continued to support the Coral Conservation project by managing their social media and raising awareness about the importance of Ocean Conservation. Marina was also involved in organizing numerous Beach Clean Ups which brought her very close to like-minded and passionate young people.
Currently, she works for the Cleanwave Foundation, supporting mostly the MedGardens project, as well as volunteer management and educational programs. MedGardens is a new project focused on marine conservation of shallow Mediterranean waters in Mallorca and Cleanwave Education offers eco-emotional workshops focused on reconnecting people to nature
Furthermore, Marina acknowledges that Clean-Ups are a great initiative to amend what has been damaged, however, she strongly believes that action must go beyond this. Of course, it is important to educate and raise consciousness and awareness about ocean pollution, however, this has been done for many years and waste management is still a global issue.
Marina believes it is about empowering ethical and sustainable businesses to SCALE-UP so they too can provide environmentally sustainable products and services to the MASS MARKET. Looking forward to a world where buying ecological products is no longer a luxury, but a basic right accessible to all.
In a nutshell, Marina is an OceanLover and she wishes to encourage citizens to embrace Marine Custody as well as bring innovative solutions to today's environmental challenges! Think global and acting locally!
Matai Zamuël is in his first year on the Council. He is a 16-year-old Human Rights and Climate Change activist from the Republic of Suriname and has been partnering with (the Local and Regional Offices of) various UN Organizations, mainly Unicef and UNDP, for over five years.
Matai regularly discusses climate/conservation-related issues with Suriname’s Members of Parliament and Ministers. He also continues to work closely with NGOs like Green Heritage Fund Suriname and WWF Guianas, but equally understands the importance of the inclusion of local and tribal communities in all actions that concern them.
Aiding with the rehabilitation of the mangrove population at Weg Naar Zee with the locals and Professor Sieuwnath Naipal, is one of his greatest joys.
So is being on Suriname’s briny rivers and learning about estuarine/marine fauna from vedettes such as Monique Pool and Marijke Nita de Boer.
Matai is dedicated to ensuring the full participation of youth in spreading awareness and driving ambition relating to the protection of Earth’s ecosystems. He argues that youth should be the most frequent factor in the dialogues and innovation relating to climate change.
Suriname is one of the nations experiencing the highest risk of flooding if global sea-levels continue to rise.
Matai lives near Suriname’s northern coast, so it’s quite a vivid concern. This personal approach has been most effective in educating other young people about conservation and the mitigation of climate change, according to Matai.
If we are to mobilize youth, they need to be fully aware of what actions they can already start taking!
Recently Matai has started reaching out to elementary schools and neighborhood youth organizations to assess how knowledgeable youth are about the challenges we face. He asks their input and includes them in his contribution at conference such the HFLD Climate Finance Mobilization Conference and Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition in Italy 2021. But it doesn’t end there.
He takes the manifests back to those same Surinamese youths and adapts them and illustrates, along with their insights, how the measures they contain can be implemented in their direct environment.
Matai views being part of the World Ocean Day Youth Advisory Council as an opportunity to reaffirm the efforts small developing nations already have and a much-needed eye-opener in coming together to tackle our shared challenges.
Mhairi is in her second year on the Council. She is a 21 year old from Scotland and is the Founder & CEO of Youth STEM 2030, where her focus is on empowering youth by creating the opportunities, support and platforms needed to use STEM to change the world. Mhairi strongly believes in the power of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to solve the big challenges in our world, including those that our oceans currently face.
In 2016, Mhairi completed a Nuffield Research Placement at the University of the West of Scotland, investigating ‘The Impact of Novel Agrochemicals on the Activity of the Marine Intertidal Amphipod Echinogammarus marinus’. The project was awarded the Zoological Society of London’s Prince Philip Award and Marsh Prize and the Senior Science Runner Up Prize at the Big Bang Competition, and was what sparked Mhairi’s continued fascination in marine life, and her particular interest in the ecology of rocky shores.
Since the start of 2020, Mhairi has been participating in the #SOSSaturdays campaign, and has taken over 25,000 (and counting!) pieces of plastic out of the river Clyde in over 40 weekly beach cleans. She is active in promoting youth participation in decision making through her current role as an #iwill Ambassador, where she is Co-chair of the Environment Steering Group, and has previously increased youth involvement in the environmental sector in Scotland as a member of ReRoute: Scotland’s Youth Biodiversity Panel.
Mhairi has an overarching interest in the UN Sustainable Development Goals and in particular the systems thinking approach that is necessary to realise them. She enjoys ‘learning by doing’, and a key personal priority across her work lies in proactively ensuring equity and inclusion.
Our oceans are fundamental to life on Earth, and Mhairi believes that the shared responsibility to protect them has the potential to connect us. As part of the World Ocean Day Youth Advisory Council, she is looking forward to working as part of a global team of youth - who each bring varied skillsets and experiences, but are equally committed and passionate about the marine environment - to be able to effect the systemic change that is needed to protect our oceans.
Muskan Lamba is in her second year on the Council. She is a 20-year-old final year undergraduate student of Economics and Political Science at Miranda House, University of Delhi. Belonging to humanities and social sciences backgrounds academically, it is only after consistently educating herself on the environment the last two years that she realized that combating climate change and environmental challenges is not a responsibility limited to the sciences, but rather requires a multi-disciplinary approach now more than ever–an understanding she intently imbibes in her work and study.
At college, she has been actively involved with the social entrepreneurship society ‘Enactus’ and served as its Head of Research and Development. The society works towards designing and implementing unique and sustainable business models using innovation and tech, which are aimed at creating opportunities for strengthening and uplifting communities. This experience has taught her that one can’t separate compassion for the environment from compassion for our families and societies.
Along with this, she is the college representative for Project Echo To Voice, an environment sustainability campaign initiated in association with WWF-India. It is centered around SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production and has been recognized by various other national and regional youth-led social initiatives. It is while researching for this campaign that she was introduced to the study of sustainable blue economy, an emerging concept that aims to improve human wellbeing while preserving ocean health and significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.
Growing up in Delhi, India, a city geographically disconnected from the sea, she has only had rare encounters with the ocean while travelling but has always felt a fond love for it despite. In fact, as a teenager, when she was exploring a new passion for writing, the first ever poem she wrote was about the ocean and it has continued to be a source of creative inspiration for her. She is a firm believer in art as a powerful catalyst for social transformation and loves to pursue filmmaking, music, and fine arts as cocurricular activities.
While being in a rigorous learning and unlearning phase currently, Muskan’s eventual goal is to research about the intersections between environment sustainability and socio-economic justice and involve these in her future work. She derives strong inspiration from Margaret Mead’s words: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” As a member of the World Ocean Day Youth Advisory Council, she looks forward to connecting with fellow like-minded youth from around the world and learn from their diverse experiences as they create meaningful impact together.
Nathany Roberta Herrera Aguiar
Nathany Roberta Herrera Aguiar
Nathany is in her first year on the Council. She is Brazilian and has been passionate about the ocean since she was a child. At age 10 years she started to go to cleanups in her city. She believes that the most important thing is share about the importance of having a good relationship with our planet. Her biggest dream is making a difference in someone's life through education.
She is a middle and high school teacher, and with a degree in Biological Sciences, and was a research fellow in the area of taxonomy in the study of the benthic phycoflorula. She is currently a Master's student in the science and technology area, developing research related to ocean pollution and solutions to reduce the human impact on earth at the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP).
In college, Nathany was always dedicated to helping other students in the laboratory and organized various events and activities at her university.
When she graduated, she knew that her dream of teaching about life, ecosystems and the relationship between living beings, was something that would make her who she is and how she would make her mark on the world.
She became volunteer of Ecosurf Institute in 2015 and vice president in 2016, today, she is a Project Director at the institute, in an Education for ocean citizenship project in schools (Oceano na Escola), that attends more than 2000 kids per year. It’a member of the action-research team (Ecosystem Stressors and Future Scenarios) of the Brazilian Ocean Horizon Program (HOB) of the Brazilian Panel for the Future of the Ocean (PainelMar). She is also a team member of a podcast called Descomplica Engenharia that share about the academic processes, environmental and engineering sciences.
She also believes that information and people's union can move mountains, and children and teenagers are her investment to be able to dream of a better future where our ocean and our planet became our priority.
Paul Eweola Ayomide
Paul Eweola Ayomide
Paul Ayomide is an Ocean enthusiast and advocate for clean ocean and healthy environment.
His drive to further promote a sustainable planet earth and ocean has led him to founding Aquaworld- an organization devoted to enlighten people on the aesthetic values of the oceans. Paul believes working together yields faster and healthy results and this has propelled him to volunteering with other initiatives and organizations; he is currently a Team Lead and a Regional Supervisor for the South-Western Region at Future Savers Sustainable Development Initiative in Nigeria, an initiative with the aim to make clear to people climate change impacts and building climate actors, where he supervises events, projects and trains future climate actors.
He is also the current Director of Operations at U-Recycle Initiative, an initiative on a mission to emphasize a sustainable recycling culture and advance environmental sustainability across Sub-Saharan Africa, where he lead campaigns and coordinates other volunteers during events and project. He is currently one of the Global Youth ambassadors of the Earth-Day Network from Nigeria as a plastic champion.
As a Mockcop26 delegate in Nov, 2020, He represented Nigeria at the caucuses meeting where climate policies were debated on and voted for.
He is a member of the Commonwealth Youth for Climate Change network from Nigeria.
He is one of the Young Ocean Leaders at the Sustainable Ocean Alliance.
He is also a member of the Western Tropical Atlantic; Clean Ocean Working group.
Paul’s involvement in different events and projects has enabled him engage thousands of individuals globally and has earned him different awards and recognitions.
Prashant Mohesh is in his first year on the Council. He is a Documentary Filmmaker, Explorer, National Geographic #GenGeo and the Founder & Expedition Leader of The Oceanic Project - a youth-led organisation that uses the power of storytelling to explore, educate and take action to protect our ocean. Prashant is also a Surfer and PADI Certified Diver with a Speciality Dive by PADI-Aware. He is the first Young Mauritian to be part of the National Geographic #GenGeo community which is a global community of young people who are helping to shape the conversation, drive progress, and seek solutions to help protect our planet, his mission is to ‘Protect The Last Wild Places Of The Ocean.’
He has a background in Graphic Design from Curtin University and he was also someone who went from fearing the ocean to protecting it on a daily basis. Living in Mauritius - a small tropical paradise island in the Indian Ocean, he really loves the environment and he wants to protect it for future generations. From a very young age, he really loved watching National Geographic documentaries and he was inspired by their community of explorers who are stretching the boundaries of exploration through science, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonders of our world. Prashant has found his niche and learned more about how to preserve biodiversity by enrolling in some amazing National Geographic courses. For many years, he has conducted environmental research and now, he is a citizen scientist. Prashant has led summer camps, seminars and webinars on the island and also online. He had recently participated in the Global Biodiversity Festival on May 22 celebrating The International Day for Biological Diversity. He was the first Mauritian to be in the lineup of so many amazing speakers like Dr. Sylvia Earle, Dr Jane Goodall, E. O. Wilson and Enric Sala. With regards to all his amazing engagement, he has inspired much youth from all around the world.
Apart from his environmental interest, he is really passionate about paintings. He has participated in many international and local competitions and he has also hosted exhibitions.
Prashant truly believes that young people hold the key toward a brighter future and in order to shape a better world, we need to support more young people because they are the source of ideas, innovation and solutions for the future. With World Ocean Day, National Geographic and the support of the U.S. Embassy in Mauritius, he aims to educate, inspire and empower more young people with the right attitude skills and 21st-century knowledge so that they can be the critical agents of change and make their voices heard so that they feel safe: show them how their opinions, feelings, and perspectives matter. He also wants to empower them to stand up, speak out, and take action for our planet because that might inspire other youths around the world.
Ruth Edma Mwizeere
Ruth Edma Mwizeere
Ruth Edma Mwizeere is in her second year on the Council. She is an Environmental Scientist and Activist. She is from Uganda, a landlocked country; however, she is aware of the direct impact of the ocean on her local environment. She is therefore creating awareness on how landlocked countries can contribute to the restoration and protection of the oceans.
She is currently the Programs Officer at InfoNile, a cross-boundary geojournalism project of Water Journalists Africa that promotes investigative science-based environmental journalism in the Nile Basin.
She is a Youth In Landscapes(YiL) Alumnus and in 2018 was recognized as one of the top ten landscape leaders and was part of the Global Landscapes Forum Bonn 2018
She is also a member of Youth Go Green, a Ugandan organization that focuses on environment conservation through tree planting, and climate change mitigation, adaptation by providing critical information, supplying agricultural inputs, lobbying, advocacy & bringing local, national, and global stakeholders together, with the goal of igniting climate action.
Sam Fricker is in his first year on the Council. He is a 19-year-old young Olympic Diver from Sydney Australia, he debuted at the Japan Olympics 2020. Sam has been fortunate enough to travel and compete all over the world for diving. He was the first ever Australian to win a Gold Medal at the Dresden Youth International Diving Meet in 2020. Through his many travels he has seen that plastic pollution is not just a problem in Australia but a global emergency. Sam is using his diving platform in sports to raise his concern for our ocean.
Sam is an eco-warrior who founded an environmentally sustainable company at 16-years of age called Sam’s Straws, which promotes ‘Wheat Straws’ as a natural, sustainable answer to single-use plastic straws. He started the Eco-Business after being deeply affected viewing the removal of a long plastic straw lodged in the nostril of a male sea turtle. This one single event brought home to him the tragic reality of marine plastic pollution issues in our oceans, and ignited his passion into conservation action for our blue planet. He is the recipient of the Lexis Mentored Business Grant. Awarded for Young Australian Entrepreneurs. Sam is a Youth Ambassador for ‘Clean Up Australia Day’, the nation’s largest community based environmental event. He discovered that the No 1 source of rubbish collected on Clean Up Australia Day is single-use plastics. He is committed to the vision of the NSW and Australian Government’s Goal to be single-use plastic free by 2025 and is working with numerous agencies to see this goal achieved.
Sam is an Ocean Ambassador with CollaborOCEAN, ‘Creatives Collaborating for Ocean Conservation’ who projected Sam’s signature 10MTR Dive onto the Sydney Opera House iconic Sails for World Oceans Day 2021, to highlight his environmental motto – ‘Dive into Clean Oceans.’ He was proud to share this spotlight with globally recognised ocean pioneering conservationist Valerie Taylor AM; who adamantly believes that the future of the well-being of our marine environment is in the hands of the young and dedicated.
Sam is a social media sensation with 1.2MIL followers on Tic Tok. He sees this media platform as an ally and a motivator to support together the World Ocean Day vision of the 30 x 30 Campaign to protect 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030. He is aware that it is very important to unite together as youth and empower one other into sustainable action and habits for our ocean and to help combat the effects of climate change. He has been featured on many Australian Broadcasting Networks, sharing about his love of diving and his passion for marine sanctuary zones and healthy oceans. Sam is thrilled to join the other members of the World Ocean Day, Youth Advisory Council and build together ideas and creative solutions to develop projects for World Ocean Day 2022.
Shanjeevan is in his first year on the Council. He is a 20 years old marine conservationist and an adventure traveller from Sri Lanka. If Shanjeevan had his choice, he would have gills instead of lungs. He spends as much time as he can scuba diving and blowing bubbles. When he’s a land lover you can find Shanjeevan working on a range of innovative projects that aim to engage, entertain, and educate people about the ocean.
He is the co-founder of OceanBiome. OceanBiome is a community of next-generation ocean advocates with a mission to tackle the most pressing challenges of marine ecosystems by co-creating open innovations and ocean literacy.
He is an adventure traveler. He has a dream to do Seven Summits. He climbed Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe. Also, he walked across his country in 12 days to prove Sri Lanka is a Safer place to live.
He has numerous accolades under his fins. He received the President's Award in scouts. He represented the whole nation as a scout in the Olympic World Youth Camp 2018 at PyeongChang, South Korea. Now he has become a scout leader. He is a Duke of Edinburgh's bronze award holder and now continuing his gold Award and leading an award unit. He was a member of the Sustainable Development Goals Children’s Parliament. World’s first such parliament. Also, he was a divisional goal coordinator for the UN Sustainable Development Goals Youth Council.
He is willing to make a positive impact in his country and motivate the upcoming generation through achieving his goals. He wants to create a world where the ocean doesn't need protection.
Siobhan is in her second year on the Council. She has been fascinated by the ocean world’s many intricacies for as long as she can remember. Since her days watching Free Willy on repeat, she has been on a journey to inspire and activate change for our oceans – through science, communications, and education.
While studying toward her Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and Environmental Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, Siobhan fell in love with advocacy and communications for the marine environment. During this time, she studied coral reefs in French Polynesia and was awarded an Ambassadorship with BLAKE and New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). This allowed her to board one of the most active research vessels, Tangaroa, and voyage into the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Joining the microbial team, she appropriately sat her final university exams while on the boat and was one of 40 people who didn’t see land for four weeks.
Upon return, she took her sea-legs into New Zealand’s Ministry for the Environment where she went to work in the Chief Executive’s Office and Environmental Reporting team. Here, she helped produce the country’s four-yearly state of the environment marine report which reignited her passion for educating the public on environmental issues and solutions. Supporting crucial communications between the scientists and the public about the state of the environment, Siobhan was confronted with uncomfortable truths that had to be addressed. But how?
Education! Siobhan decided to put her passion to use at an innovative digital education start-up, Squawk Squad. Here, she has co-hosted and managed an education programme taking thousands of school students on a virtual expedition to Antarctica to learn about climate change.
Siobhan credits her hope and optimism for our oceans to the people around her. She is just one of 25 ocean-loving young New Zealanders that make-up ‘Project Blue’. Together, they are making an action-inspiring documentary while working with companies to transition away from single-use plastic. This project has connected ocean leaders throughout New Zealand, and she can’t wait to bring this inspiring team on the World Ocean Day Youth Advisory Council on the journey with her.
Sruthi is in her first year on the Council. She has been drawn to the ocean ever since a teacher told her to “beware of bluebottles” during a beach trip. After spotting the distinctive colors of a Portuguese Man O’War off the coast of Perth, Western Australia, she was hooked. She knew she had to discover what else was beneath the ocean’s surface.
Today, Sruthi is a 23 year old ocean conservationist, a National Geographic Young Explorer, a Sustainable Ocean Alliance Grantee, and the editor in chief of An Hour in the Deep E-Magazine, a publication that engages youth in eco-journalism.
Sruthi is keen on shaping her e-magazine into an optimistic, forward-looking, and innovation focused publication. The magazine is split up by subcategory: Ocean Conservation, Ocean Solutions of the Future, Ocean Storytelling, Ocean Science, and Spotlight. Each edition features writing, art, and photography. She believes that by undoing the dichotomy between science and storytelling, young people can effectively communicate the nuances of our changing planet to the rest of the world.
Sruthi also serves as the ambassador for Global Goal 14, Life Below Water for United Nations Association of Chicago. She is a member of the Youth Council at Reserva: The Youth Land Trust, where she is a Conventions and Community Wellbeing Committee Member. Through her involvement in Reserva’s initiatives, Sruthi recognized the power of youth voices in conservation, which she hopes to amplify in her work.
Outside of eco-journalism and researching ocean solutions, Sruthi feels most connected with the blue world when scuba diving. She seeks to create a new dimension in her conservation journey by learning to do volunteer projects in underwater environments.
Syeda Areesha Fatima
Syeda Areesha Fatima
Syeda Areesha Fatima is in her first year on the Council. She is an 18-year-old climate and gender rights advocate from Lahore, Pakistan. She is currently in the last year of her high school and during her entire school journey she has spoken at various conferences and MUNS regarding the importance of environmental conservation. Her drive to work for the environment grew even more stronger when she saw one of her closest friends suffering an asthma attack due to the terrible air pollution in her city. This made her realize how imperative it is for us to save our planet otherwise what all damage we have done would eventually come back to us. She is a very enthusiastic individual; she has been working with various global and national non-profits with the aim to achieve the SDG’s.
While realizing the link between food wastage and environmental pollution she worked on a project to minimize food wastage through which all the leftover food was collected from restaurants repacked and distributed among the needy. She believes advocacy is of utmost importance especially in a society where majority of the people are unaware about the extend of damage their small actions are doing to the environment. Because of this reason she has held various seminars in under privileged areas where the people were educated about environmental conservation and what they can do to save the environment. She has also participated in various plantation and clean up drives. In order to minimize paper wastage, she taught students how to recycle paper.
During her childhood while spending most of her time in the coastal city of Karachi she saw the systematic damage that was done to the ocean. The water has once home to the worlds most beautiful species now became nothing but a place to DISPOSE OFF chemicals and garbage. In the future she aims to become a marine biologist and work with the government to pass solid laws to conserve the oceans. She believes that interactive activities and different forms of art sow a seed of change in one’s mind and force them think. Hence one of her goals is to design and introduce an activity-based learning curriculum specifically focused on SDG’s that would be taught in underprivileged schools.
Syeda hopes that through this the future generation of the country would grow up to be responsible citizens who care for the environment and work for its betterment. Her involvement in various projects have led her to believe that until and unless one starts correcting their own actions change cannot come. As a part of the World Ocean Day Youth Advisory Council, she looks forward to interacting with people from diverse backgrounds, culture and countries and learn from their experiences.
Yutong Yang (she/her) is in her first year on the Council. She is a high school senior born and raised in the seaside boomtown of Shenzhen, China. She is a voyager who enjoys venturing into the unknown, there and back again. Her favorite marine animal is the dolphin, an agile, playful mammal, often associated with harmony, balance, and healing. She feels strongly connected to the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, Mother Rivers that embody various qualities cherished by her people, such as courage and perseverance.
As an inaugural member of Bow Seat’s Future Blue Youth Council and the sole representative from China, Yutong collaborates with 13 other young leaders to create and oversee a new by-youth, for-youth environmental grantmaking program. On the Council, she has found an efficient team who can hack a World Ocean Day Youth-a-thon audition in 24 hours, and a loving Community for Creative Conservation.
Yutong wants to help build this safe space on the Youth Advisory Council, where everyone can bring their original perspectives to the table, and be (en)lightened by the sparks. A talk by the Queer Brown Vegan inspired her to make scholarly findings fun and relatable. She aspires to develop ocean literacy with the Council, and shall keep up the good fight to transcend constructed barriers, towards a shared future of “One Ocean, One Climate.”
Yutong is intrigued by intersections of nature conservation, queer and feminist theory, and race and ethnicity. She is a Contributor at 360° of Opera®, a social media platform dedicated to promoting opera & the performing arts to a wide audience. She hopes to bridge languages and cultures while engaging in creative advocacy.
- Andrea Quintero Pérez, Mexico
- Darcie Anderson, Scotland
- Eimear Stephenson, Ireland
- Nicola Tsiolis, Australia
- Joana Da Rosa, Portugal
- Maha Fier, New Zealand
- Natalie Ashkar, Lebanon
- Gabrielle Martineau, Canada
- David Ludeke, United States
- Toluwanimi Olubanke, Nigeria
- Lydia Rysavy, Sweden
- Ngolle Kingsman, Cameroon
- Ariana Wanvig-Dot, Switzerland
2019 - 2020
- Aldrin Aujero, Philippines
- Isabelle Grace, Switzerland
- Laura Park, England
- Olivia Livingstone, Liberia
- Mae Paula Ross Clareza, Philippines
- Portsea Turton, Australia
- Rebecca Loy, Singapore
- Shantana Barbe, Seychelles
- Sophie Handford, New Zealand
- Summer Snell, England
- Unelker Maoga, Kenya
- Nicolas Chesta, Chile
- Yusuf Kavuma, Uganda
- Anna Zaske, Denmark
- Anushka Bhaskar, United States
- Cade Terada, United States
- Gabrielle Tan, Malaysia
- Ibrahi Rodriguez, Ecuador
- Kehkashan Basu, Canada
- Olivia Taylor, South Africa
- Patricia Zanella, Brazil
- Rufai Balogun, Nigeria
- Sofia El-Rass, Denmark
- Wenqin Zhang, China
2016 - 2018
- Baylee Ritter, USA
- Brandon Koots, Curacao
- Caitlin Philipps, Australia
- Eugenia Barroca, Portugal
- Gabriella Schauber, Canada
- La Tisha Parkinson, Trinidad & Tobago
- Melati Wijsen, Indonesia
- Mohammed Wahabi, Morocco
- Nehara Pandey, India
- Oghenechovwen Christopher Oghenekevwe, Nigeria
- Sang-Jin Kim, Germany