Youth Advisory Council
The World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council was created to help develop World Oceans Day into a unique way to connect and unite youth around the world. Their goal is to be a global network of leaders that help shape our vision and actions for a better future with a healthier ocean that sustains us all.
Aldrin is an 18-year-old junior from the International School of Manila. His passion lies towards the intersection of the environment and social issues especially pertaining to poverty alleviation and development. He is an alum of the 2018 Sustainable Development and Social Entrepreneurship Session of the Yale Young Global Scholars Program, and takes both Environmental Systems and Societies and Economics for his IB program.
Mentored by Asian Development Bank’s Youth for Asia Team, he is a cofounder of Project PUNO, an environmental conservation group which provides engaging youth-centered story-books that fosters appreciation towards environmental conservation of threatened Philippine ecosystems. He is also the Secretary General of EarthSavers, an NAUCP awarded UNESCO Club involved in tackling social issues through grassroots educational and sustainability initiatives. He also serves as the Philippine ambassador to Tunza, an environmental platform founded by UNEP and Samsung Engineering where he publishes monthly reports on sustainability issues, and a global ambassador to Bridge-the-Divide, a political initiative which engages the youth in political discourse pertaining to pertinent social issues like global sustainability. Actively involved in international environmental forums, he has also spearheaded workshops in the Global Issues Network and, along with his peers, has been one of the youngest oral presenters for his research on the climate vulnerability of the Cordillera Rice Terraces during the Sustainable Agriculture Food and Energy (SAFE) Conference.
Cognizant of the power of the youth’s voice, Aldrin is also heavily involved in his school’s Model United Nations and Forensics and Debate clubs where he helps sharpen both his own and his peers’ public speaking talents. In his free time, Aldrin enjoys swimming, snorkeling and exploring the beautiful oceans of the Philippines. Outside of the water, he loves reading the Economist, listening to Radiolab, and leading service trips to schools within Manila. Through the Youth Advisory Council, he hopes to make a positive impact and help drive a more sustainable future for the marine ecosystems of the Philippines.
Andrea Quintero Pérez
Andrea Quintero Pérez
Ever since she can remember, Andrea has wanted to become a marine biologist. Since she has learned about the anthropogenic threats to the ocean and the environment, she has made it her life's mission to do her best to protect them. At the age of 16 she was chosen as a speaker for a TEDx event in the State of Mexico where she talked about the environmental issues regarding food waste. During this event, she also discussed ways people and governments could tackle food waste in their communities.
Since she started university, she has been involved in educational talks to university, primary, middle and high school students about climate change and the impact of dietary habits on the environment. In May 2019 she registered and organized the first Fridays For Future event in La Paz as part of the Global Climate Strike and has been an active member of the movement ever since.
She is a certified naturalist guide and is currently working for sustainable and minimal impact companies that focus on ecotourism in Baja California Sur. She is 20 years old and invests her time creating awareness about environmental issues, especially those affecting the ocean. Her goal is to create a project which helps fishermen transition to ecotourism. She hopes to make people aware of the current threats to the ocean and show how we can all be involved in supporting sustainable tourism!
Darcie Anderson is a 19 year old student at the Scottish Association for Marine Science, where she is in her second year of her undergraduate marine science degree. Darcie has been a youth leader with AYUDH Europe since 2016, where she organizes social and environmental impact projects with young Europeans. This has involved creating an Ocean Awareness social media campaign, distributing essentials to people experiencing homelessness and hosting regular beach cleans. Darcie has been a speaker at a UNESCO iTAGe (Talking across generations on education) panel, where she discussed education and global citizenship with senior policymakers and was part of a team which drafted a youth declaration on education.
In 2016, Darcie was selected to represent AYUDH Europe at the U.N. forum on human rights, democracy and rule of law, where there was discussion of youth empowerment to solve the worlds issues, an idea she strongly believes in. Growing up in Australia and New Zealand, Darcie always had a strong connection with the ocean and enjoys snorkeling and SCUBA diving. She now lives on the west coast of Scotland, where she has had the opportunity to volunteer with the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust. On this trip, she was part of a team sailing around the Inner Hebrides to survey cetaceans, seals, seabirds and human activity, as part of an effort to collect data in order to protect Hebridean marine life. She has since been involved in public outreach with the trust, where she has discussed the importance of monitoring cetaceans with members of the public.
The World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council will help Darcie spread the messages of ocean conservation and low impact living with more young people.
Eimear is a 19-year-old student working towards a B.S. in Marine Science alongside a German Diploma. During her time at university, she has studied various topics ranging from seaweeds and seagrasses to oceanography and zoology. One of Eimear’s aims in life is to constantly immerse herself in knowledge, old and new, so as she can gain a better understanding of how the world works and hopefully help renew, regenerate and reinvigorate this wonderful planet. After completing diving and boating courses, Eimear has become increasingly aware of the harm that has come to our oceans. She is fascinated by the marine world but also devastated by the destruction it is currently facing. Eimear intends to live a life whereby she can help combat the ocean’s demise. Her belief is that with more knowledge comes more power. As a result, Eimear has started an initiative to raise awareness about climate change, biodiversity and marine life to primary school students in Ireland.
Her goals are to educate as many children as possible with this ecological science program, to learn from them, and to encourage them to be young eco-warriors in their own homes. From a young age, Eimear has also been involved with many environmental nonprofit organizations. She has worked with Trocaire’s Stop Climate Chaos program, through which she publicly spoke to politicians regarding the eradication of fossil fuels in Ireland. She currently works with Green Sod Ireland, a nonprofit organization dedicated to re-wilding Ireland. This organization returns donated land to its original wild state and replenishes native flora and fauna in those areas, a cause to which Eimear is truly committed. Eimear is also involved in Green Sod Ireland’s ecological information programs for children, teenagers, students and adults, aiming to improve the public’s knowledge on local, national and global biodiversity.
Eimear truly believes that if people rise together, the world can change for the better. Her goals with the World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council are to learn from others, to educate as many people as possible on the wonders that the ocean has to offer, and to help seriously combat the climate crisis at large.
Nicola Tsiolis is a 17-year-old Cypriot-Australian student with a burning passion for the ocean. Since the age of seven, she has aspired to become a Marine Biologist and work within the ocean; learning, discovering, protecting and conserving the abundant, extraordinary life that lives within the ocean’s depths. After being exposed to and growing up around Australia’s beautiful beaches and surf culture, her holistic passion and love for the ocean runs through her veins. Nicola aims to continue this journey of learning about and understanding environmental conservation through studying marine science at university next year. Her passion and ambition for environmental activism and conservation is the driving force behind her active involvement in all things related to the ocean. She sees the World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council as an opportunity to learn and grow deeper with a team of like-minded young people and one step into a future that excites her.
As an Ocean Youth Ambassador (Sea Life Trust) 2019, Nicola has created an organization with the agenda to create positive environmental change called Sea Change Network. Her ambitions for Sea Change Network are to not only push for legislative change in Australia but also to provide students across Victoria with the tools and skills needed to create their own student-led social justice and environmental groups. Nicola is also involved with her local community's leadership council (Eltham Youth Leadership Council- Vicky Ward MP), in which herself and other young people aim to bring about positive solutions to eco-anxieties and challenges faced within their local community.
Isabelle is a student activist who is passionate about the ocean and its life. She is a member of a bilingual school in Switzerland and loves surfing, swimming, sailing, photography and feels happiest when in or near the ocean. She also has over 15 diving certifications. After witnessing the effects climate change has on the ocean, she became fascinated with marine biology and ocean conservation. Isabelle wants to dedicate her life to protecting the ocean. More specifically she wants to identify the ocean as a source of life for the planet, reverse the effect of coral bleaching, and protect marine life.
For several years, she worked closely with coastal communities in Fiji, Australia, Costa Rica and the Caribbean. In these locations, people rely on the ocean and nearby coral reefs to live, provide food, money, and shelter for their families. She was horrified to see so many communities devastated by overfishing depleting marine life. She has worked with other communities who were successfully using artisanal fishing techniques and is committed to developing and supporting sustainable economic models for fishing communities.
Joana Da Rosa
Joana Da Rosa
Born in Madeira Island and raised in Azores, Joana has a deep connection with the ocean, which led her to become a senior marine biology student at University of Algarve, Portugal, in order to learn and discover more about her biggest passion, ocean life. She started open-sea snorkeling as soon as she learned how to swim and is now a certified diver. Over recent years, Joana has been comparing the amount of fish and species that she comes across while snorkeling and has noticed the drastic loss of biodiversity in he region.
While many different factors may be causing this effect, most of this disappearance may be due to the use of illegal fishing nets. Another problem that concerns her is the amount of litter, mostly plastic, that is found in marine ecosystems. With a great willingness and dedication to make a positive difference and protect the ocean environment from the various problems that disturb its serenity, she’s a member of Straw Patrol, an environmental awareness organization aimed at bringing awareness to the problem of marine litter through beach clean-ups and lectures in primary, elementary and high schools. She hopes that these sessions inspire both children and teenagers to act for a sustainable future.
Laura Park is a 20-year-old student at Plymouth University in the UK studying Ocean Science and Marine Conservation. Having grown up around the coast is what cemented her drive to contribute to the ocean and its inhabitants. Laura recently spent a month in South Africa collecting opportunistic data on whaling watching boat. She also contributed to regular beach cleans, river health surveys, teaching children to speak English, rare whale dissections and seal counts and surveys. She also played an integral role in the continuation of research on different cetacean species around the coast.
When she was 17, she spent the summer at Bangor University and completed a Nuffield Research project entitled “3D Morphology of Sabelleria alveolata reefs” gaining a gold STEM crest award for the paper. She also aided PhD students with the fieldwork for their thesis'. Laura has always loved water-based sports, be it rowing, swimming or kayaking. When she’s not in the water she loves horse riding, volunteering at an aquarium and tutoring younger students. She is currently in her final year of her undergraduate degree and is working towards a master’s degree in Marine Mammal Biology.
Laura’s passion for the ocean and all its inhabitants is what inspired her to apply for the World Ocean’s Day Youth Advisory Council as she feels that there is always more that can be done. To her, the best way to make a difference is to start immediately and include the world in the local and global effort.
Maha Fier is a 17-year-old living along the west coast of New Zealand. While growing up near the ocean and coastal waterways, she developed an attachment to these natural wonders and was shocked when at 12 years old, she discovered the amount of threats our oceans are currently facing, including pollution, ocean acidification, exploitation of marine biodiversity through commercialized fishing and more.
A passion for wanting to preserve the environment and oceans led her to create the Societal, Environmental and Animal Rights Action Group (SEAR) within her local college. For four years, she has led this group which focuses on giving students the understanding that people, the environment and animals all intertwined. During her time leading SEAR, she has helped create events to preserve the remaining 63 Maui Dolphins and co-founded the Kāpiti Enviro Youth Summit, which focuses on New Zealand’s waterways and oceans and the threats they face. She is heavily interested in how technology is being developed to help our planet. This has led her to be the project manager for her college’s robotics club, which is currently creating a beach-cleaning robot that can travel along a polluted beach and pick up the rubbish.
As a four-year textile student, she discovered that the fast fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world and has detrimental impacts on our oceans. Synthetic fibers such as polyester, acrylic, nylon and more leak microfibers (a form of microplastics) when they are put through the washing machine. This has led to over 5 trillion microfibers ending up in our oceans and becoming the biggest source of microplastic. Maha wishes to see the fashion industry become more sustainable and has helped start a Stop Microfiber Pollution Campaign within SEAR, hoping that as it progresses further, huge fast fashion brands will start addressing the issue themselves.
Olivia Precious Livingstone graduated and obtained her high school diploma from the St. Teresa’s Convent Catholic High School and is presently a Senior student at the Cuttington University studying Environmental Science.
As a child, Olivia remembered spending her evenings on the beach and watching the sunset with her Dad. She has always been drawn to nature and things in their natural state and she believes that one of the best decisions she has made is to study Environmental Science. Cognizant of the many challenges that the Environment is faced with, Olivia has started her own NGO called the Green Stewards Incorporated (GSI). GSI focuses on finding solutions and mitigations methods that can aid in reducing the harmful effects and threats that these challenges (Climate Change, Land Degradation, Ocean Pollution, Improper Waste Management, Plastic Invasion, etc.) pose to the environment. In GSI’s quest for mitigation measures, Conservation is one of its leading proposed solutions.
Coming from a country (Liberia) where a majority of the population is highly dependent on the natural environment and its resources, it is challenging to achieve conservation. Notwithstanding, Olivia is still confident that this feat can be accomplished, through the holistic efforts of everyone, specifically young people. In pursuit of this, Olivia serves as an intern at Conservation International Liberia, and is the President of the Liberian Young Conservationists Leadership program where she inspires over twenty-five young people to take the lead in conserving the natural environment. Olivia is also presently the President of the Sustainable Ocean Alliance Chapter, Cuttington University, the Captain of the University’s Debate Society and the Representative of the University’s Department of Environmental Science.
Mae Paula Ross Clareza
Mae Paula Ross Clareza
Paula Clareza is a registered librarian and a licensed professional teacher. She believes that everyone can advocate for environmental conservation, regardless of profession or age. You are never too young to lead!
Her journey as an environmental advocate started when she joined the Sea and Earth Advocates Camp (SEA Camp) of Save Philippine Seas in 2016. Since then, she changed her way of life slowly and practiced sustainable living. She has also led and facilitated community-based projects that focused on marine conservation and protection.
Her passion to protect the ocean grew more and deep when she tried snorkeling for the first time and saw with her own eyes how magical and breathtaking our oceans are.
Natalie Ashkar is a 16-year old ocean-lover from Lebanon, who lives in Broummana, an elevated village 20 minutes away from the Mediterranean Sea. She is currently in 11th grade at Broummana High School, and is on the soccer, basketball, and track teams, as well as the Student Council and the Model United Nations team as a delegate, trainer, and dais member. As a PADI Advanced Open Water SCUBA Diver, Natalie is dedicated to protecting our oceans. She has researched the Ideonella Sakaiensis bacteria and its potential to digest plastic, in addition to modeling how greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by using electrochromic windows.
As head of the “I Serve” Club at school, she has organized over 6 beach cleanups at Ramlet Al Bayda – Beirut’s most polluted public beach. She notes that the most bizarre finds at these cleanups have been a cooking pot, a computer motherboard, and a toilet seat! Last year, she went on a National Geographic Student Expedition to Costa Rica where she volunteered at Equipo Tora Carey to tag sea turtles (her favorite animal) and log endangered parrots’ migration patterns. For the past 2 years, she has been participating in the Trust for Sustainable Living International Debates in Seychelles and British Columbia, where she has had the chance to debate plans to achieve SDGs 14 and 15 respectively, as well as meet passionate young delegates, leaders of climate strikes, environmental activists, and head of the Canadian Green Party Elizabeth May.
Like Dr. Jane Goodall, Natalie has hope for the future of our planet because of these 5 reasons: technology, the resilience of nature, the power of social media, human intellect, and finally, the youth.
Portsea Turton is 17 years old and has been fortunate to grow up on the coast of Australia. Portsea developed a love for the ocean beginning in her childhood where she spent her days snorkeling, boating and camping. Her eagerness to enjoy the ocean has led to an awareness of its dynamic changing. Compared to many countries in the world that unfortunately do not have the resources and social construct surrounding the importance of ocean sustainability, Australian waters are in a pristine state. Portsea reflects that despite this, the amount of pollution and biodiversity in her local area alone has had notable changes since the time she first went diving. Holding her home close to her heart, she has noticed the severity of the issue - which has filled her with a drive to change the future of our ocean.
Portsea works as part of The Seabin Project team, where she has been able to see firsthand the severity of issues like plastic pollution and its devastating effects on local and global communities. To continue her journey of learning and understanding she is going to study Marine Science at James Cook University in 2019.
For Portsea, the World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council seems like the perfect platform to take this passion to the next level. Portsea believes that she can finally stop talking about making a difference and start making sustainability happen.
Rebecca is from the island of Singapore and has had the privilege of growing up next to the Coral Triangle. For as long as she can remember, she has been passionate about conserving the marine world and reconnecting people with the ocean. She has been a volunteer with her country’s National Parks Board for a number of years, and was also an intern in the Board’s Coastal and Marine Department. This involved setting up a gallery to promote the newly established Sister’s Islands Marine Park and assisting with a sea turtle conservation project. The Board later awarded her a scholarship to pursue a degree in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, and she is now in the second year of her degree.
Rebecca was one of the founding members of the University’s Marine Conservation Society. This society is set up to raise awareness of the threats the marine world is facing and to take action for ocean conservation. In June 2018, the Society organized the inaugural celebration of World Oceans Day in Cambridge. She has also interned with the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre, supporting the organization’s work in the 2018 International Year of the Reef. Keen on bringing together community-led movement with sound conservation science, she has attended conferences such as the European Coral Reef Symposium and IOC-UNESCO Ocean Climate Conference to learn more about how this can be done.
With a heart for coral reefs and coastal communities, she has been campaigning for action to be taken against climate change, which is severely affecting ocean life and will only continue to increase in its impact. At home in Singapore, she has taken part in beach clean-ups and has organized one on her own for the International Coastal Cleanup. She also advocates for the conservation of her country’s surroundings by organizing fundraising projects and speaking up about what can be done. In her University, she has been part of the Fossil Free movement and seeks to promote environmental justice and sustainability wherever possible.
Shantana Barbé age 23 years of age is one of the few Associate Fellow for the Royal Commonwealth Society from Seychelles. She graduated with a Bachelor of Laws with the University of London (International Programme).
Shantana is passionate about the ocean, youth inclusion and our planet in general. In 2014 she registered a local chapter of an international youth-led NGO known as SYAH-Seychelles which she led as the President for two years. Through SYAH, Shantana has undertaken several projects such as organizing diving and snorkel sessions for young people, national competition on plastic pollution and sustainable development goals. In 2015 she was part of the all youth team who launch and led a two-year national campaign against single-use plastic bags in Seychelles which successfully resulted in a ban in 2017. She was also part of the team who helped create and launch the Blue Economy Internship programme in 2016 which today has impacted up to 100 youth. In 2017, she represented her country in the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Bonn, Germany where she showed a special interest in events related to ocean conservation and sustainable use.
By joining the Council, she hopes to work together with other youth and individuals to implement impactful projects and increase awareness, as well as being the voice for Small Island Developing States like her home country. Finally, she believes that the Council is a good platform to connect like-minded individuals just like the oceans connects us all.
Gabrielle is a 20-year-old aspiring marine scientist from Montreal, Canada. She was first introduced to the ocean through the Class Afloat program, during which she completed her last year of high school while sailing around the Atlantic Ocean onboard a 70-meter-long sailing vessel, accompanied by 54 strangers from the four corners of the globe. While crossing the Atlantic three times and learning how to sail, Gabrielle spent her free time onboard assisting with research on microplastics pollution in collaboration with the 5 Gyres Institute and taking part in dives, snorkels and sampling expeditions. She rapidly became fascinated by marine conservation and biodiversity and is currently a biology undergraduate student at Laval University in Quebec, Canada, where she is pursuing her dream of tackling marine climatic perturbations issues through graduate studies. Gabrielle is heavily involved in marine ecology research and spends her free time both in the lab and in the field, assisting professors and post-doctoral researchers in active climate change research. As part of a scientific diving team, she is happiest underwater.
She has spent a fair amount of time at the Centre de Recherches Insulaires et Observatoire de l’Environnement in Mo’orea, French Polynesia, as part of a team that collects data on coral reefs and the fish that depend on them. The main focus of this project was to use fish gut content metabarcoding to analyze trophic interactions and reconstruct coral reef food webs. Her passion and her dedication to protect our oceans has allowed her to spend a month onboard a research vessel with the Arctic Research Foundation in the Canadian Arctic, one of the regions of the globe that is highly affected by global warming. There, she took part in one of the first projects to study an underwater kelp forest in this region of the world, aiming to understand the global impacts of climate change on these important primary producers and their ecosystem. As a co-captain in the Schulich Leader Network, a network gathering the most promising and entrepreneurial-minded Canadian college students in the fields of STEM, Gabrielle believes that a big part of leadership lies in acting as an example for others. She reiterates that the conservation of our oceans is a subject that concerns every single human on this planet and is dedicated to raising awareness for this global issue!
Sophie Handford was born in Paekakariki, a small seaside village, 45km north of Wellington. The village is home to a diverse community which includes artists, musicians and passionate activists. Sophie attended a small school in the village and went on to Kāpiti College. At college, Sophie was involved with environmental activism groups and general service. In her final year, she was elected Head Girl. In 2018, Sophie co-organized an Environmental Summit for Youth in her region. She organized speakers and workshops which engaged students from across the area. Next year, she is a Youth Ambassador for World Vision and is part of the Wellington Forest & Bird Youth Council. She has a passion for changing the world for the better and getting as many people as possible involved to help out! Having grown up beside the sea, the sea water is in her blood. From her home, she can see Kapiti Island which has a marine reserve around it, protecting the sea life. Sophie is passionate about water quality and the creatures that live in our oceans.
Summer Snell is from Britain’s Ocean City of Plymouth, in the United Kingdom. She spent most of her childhood at various beaches around Cornwall where she was inspired by the unusual animals she found in rock pools.
She started volunteering at the National Marine Aquarium - the UK's largest aquarium - two years ago. While working, she aims to teach visitors about marine life and show them how important individual actions can be. Through her volunteer work, Summer learned some incredible and downright strange facts about marine creatures which inspired her to become even more passionate about marine conservation.
In her spare time summer enjoys spending her time by the coast, taking photographs and spending time with her family where she is frequently told by her sister to 'stop talking about fish'. Summer takes part in the #2minutebeachclean at every opportunity; her favourite discovery during a beach clean being a bag containing coins from all over the world. She hopes to encourage more local businesses to use plastic free alternatives and help make our world better, one step at a time.
Born in the city of San Francisco, David grew up surrounded by the natural beauty of the California Coast. He readily developed a love for the natural world by virtue of his childhood experiences, from digging for sand crabs with his brothers on Ocean Beach to witnessing northern elephant seal bulls fighting for mates in the Point Reyes rookery. Throughout middle and high school, David engaged with local scientific and environmental institutions: he eagerly visited the Marine Mammal Center and the Monterey Bay Aquarium and volunteered at the California Academy of Sciences to help re-articulate a juvenile orca skeleton.
Although he always held a fascination with nature, David’s specific passion for the ocean and ocean conservation was ignited his sophomore year of high school when he joined the National Ocean Sciences Bowl Team. Coached by his freshman year biology teacher, the Ocean Bowl Team was a group of students who competed against other high school teams in an annual buzzer-style competition. His team lost every single match the first year, but he loved it so much that he dedicated himself to studying oceanography and marine biology textbooks, leading the team to a second place finish his senior year. Now an undergraduate at Stanford University, David continues his involvement in Ocean Bowl by volunteering as a moderator at the regional competition, encouraging his same passion for ocean issues in the next generation of high school students.
David is majoring in Environmental Systems Engineering with a focus on Coastal Environments and complements these studies with his participation in the Notation in Science Communication program, which culminates in a portfolio of science writing and communication. Beyond scientific writing and research, David has recently begun to apply his skill in visual arts to create scientific illustrations. He’s done this most recently while studying abroad in Australia during the autumn quarter of 2019-2020. In Australia, he performed ecological fieldwork and learned about conservation, studying in sites like the mangrove forests of North Stradbroke Island and the coral reefs surrounding Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef. As a PADI Open Water certified diver, David was able to observe firsthand the intricate and delicate balance between all the amazing animals living on the reef. Each new interaction with the wonders of our ocean strengthens David’s resolve to do everything possible to preserve these incredible ecosystems, and he is excited to collaborate with other young people from around the world in galvanizing their communities to fight to protect our oceans.
Toluwanimi Olubanke is a remarkable change maker with a unique perspective on solutions to environmental issues. She is currently a third-year student at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, where she is studying for a bachelor's degree in Human Physiology. She is passionate about social entrepreneurship as a means to societal development. Toluwanimi has devoted her time and resources to various causes, from awareness campaigns to community empowerment programs. She is an active member of ENACTUS in the University of Ibadan, in which she serves as the General Secretary and lends her ideas and energy towards driving positive change in her campus and its neighboring communities. ENACTUS is a student organization aimed at taking entrepreneurial action on social problems and Toluwanimi acts as a catalyst in fulfilling this vision, having served on projects that helped reshape various facets of her community.
Her active involvement in the organization opened her eyes to several social and environmental issues, particularly single-use plastics. Over the past year, she has developed a deep passion for seeing a world free of single-use plastics. This passion led her to starting Thetic, which addresses the problem of plastic waste by recycling single-use plastic waste into low-cost and affordable prosthetic limbs for amputees and individuals with congenital conditions that affect their limbs. Thetic is presently in its research and development phase. Toluwanimi is a 2019 fellow of President Obama's Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) program. Through her involvement with the World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council, she hopes to inspire the culture of land and marine conservation in more young people in her country and globally. Toluwanimi believes in the energy of change – a phrase that means that change is powered by the willingness to see change and act with bravery.
Unelker Maoga is a young Kenyan and Pan African student who believes that every generation has a mission to either fulfill or betray. He believes Ocean Conservation is a mission whose time has come.
Having spent her teenage years in the coastal town of Mombasa, she desires to see coral reefs along East Africa’s coastline defy the odds and survive coral bleaching in the wake of climate change and extreme ocean acidification and pollution. Unelker has worked as a research volunteer with the Kenya Wildlife Service – Mombasa Marine Park and her blog article on Ocean Conservation won the East Africa Our Ocean Contest in 2016 from the US Embassy Regional Environment Office.
With respect to life on land, Unelker is a BS Environmental Conservation student and the founder of Konservation, a community-based project that raises awareness about climate change in school platforms and works to increase access to clean and affordable energy technologies in rural homes in Kenya. Unelker is also the youngest member of the Green Belt Movement, a 2016 Film4Climate Participant, 2018 Youth Climate Leader, a WWF Africa Youth Awardee and has received mention as a UN Environment – Young Champion of the Earth.
Lydia is an 18-year-old aspiring marine biologist, climate and ocean activist, and climate justice educator. She grew up in Austria quite far from the ocean but found a deep passion for learning about the world beneath the waves early on. She inhales any information about ocean creatures she can find and is fascinated by all water dwellers – both plain and extravagant. In the context of her high school graduation, she wrote a paper about the removal of marine plastic debris, which won the national sustainability award. Right after graduation, she decided to move to the west coast of Sweden, where she plans on commencing her studies in Marine Science in 2020. Now, she works as a climate activist and protest organizer, engages in weekly coastal cleanups, and has joined Friends of The Earth Sweden as a climate justice educator.
Along with her passion and enthusiasm about marine ecosystems, she feels incredible concern about the speed of degradation that can be witnessed in every part of the world. More specifically, she is passionate about raising awareness for issues caused by human impacts such as climate change, ocean pollution, overfishing, and several other issues. Lydia believes that knowing is the key to caring, and caring leads to taking action. Her ultimate goal is to spread a deeper understanding about the importance of the oceans, as well as build networks that allow exchange and cooperation.
Since Nicolás was a child, he has loved playing on the beaches and feeling the cold refreshing waves of the Pacific Ocean. While he was growing, he noticed that a coastal country like Chile needs to protect the Ocean constantly. For this reason, he considers himself an educator, creating opportunities for young people to learn about the consequences of water pollution. His mission is to build students into positive contributors to the environment!
Through his activism, he was selected to be a Chilean Youth Ambassador on 2017, traveling to the United States. It was through this opportunity that he learned civic engagement techniques that he would use in the future. He also was selected to be part of the Youth Leadership Council (YLC) of EarthEcho International, working actively to lead environmental movements by thinking globally and acting locally.
Nowadays, Nicolás is developing a non-profit organization called Water Surfaces Caring. His team’s goal is to expand their green impact in the local region and continue protecting the ocean!
Yusuf Kavuma originates from the Butambala district in Uganda. After completing primary school and passing the national exams with distinction, he was granted the MasterCard Foundation scholarship that enabled him to continue on to secondary school at Olympio High School Nsangi. He is currently enrolled at Gombe Secondary School Butambala.
His leadership experience started in primary school and he has held five leadership positions to date. In addition to these positions, Yusuf established the KIRANGA Foundation and leaders fellow students volunteers through this initiative. He has been nurtured into an ethical, integral and transformative leader through the programs organized by the MasterCard Foundation scholar program. Volunteering at several nonprofit institutions has made him discover the joy in giving back.
Ngolle Kingsman is a student currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Geography at the University of Buea, Cameroon. He is passionate about environmental conservation and agricultural sustainability and aims to achieve these through regenerative, social, cultural and technologically innovative measures. Spending most of his time in the natural world, he observed how the beauty of nature was gradually destroyed by the numerous environmental hazards caused by fellow humans. This ignited a fiery passion in him to take personal action towards saving his environment.
Through networking and active collaboration, Kingsman has been able to educate many young people in his community through educational sessions, workshops, school visits, and other mediums. He has taken part in several projects, campaigns and events that were aimed at contributing to lasting solutions for the environmental challenges plaguing his community. He is currently involved in different community based organizations and international platforms where he is gaining the experience, skills and knowledge to become a better leader and eco-hero. Apart from his environmental work, Kingsman enjoys photography, music, visual arts and drawing and intends to use theses to amplify his efforts.
- 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