Updated: Apr 24
Alyx, Eli, and Iyla, all under the age of 18, are leaders of a local environmental group, Plastic Free Phuket, who presented their single-use plastic bag ban to the Phuket governor back in November 2022. If the initiative is approved, an official ban on single-use plastic bags will be enacted following a six-month transition period combined with a widespread public-awareness campaign. It's inspiring to see young climate activists taking the lead in such an important issue. The group is already more than 55 students strong, not including UWC staff and beach cleanup volunteers, and has already managed to sit at the table with Governor Narong. This is impressive, especially considering how language can be a huge barrier for foreign students to efficiently interact with the local community.
The Little Ocean Heroes team first met the group at a beach cleanup in Mai Khao on a Sunday organized by the Sustainable Mai Khao foundation. The idea that students would wake up early on a Sunday, motivated to clean a beach they personally haven't littered, is inspiring and a testament to how the "Generation Greta" is continuing to inspire young people to take a stand against climate change and actively try to make powerful, positive changes to the world.
At a time when the climate crisis clock is ticking, youth-led initiatives like Plastic Free Phuket are more critical than ever. Any motivated bilingual student can start making critical information accessible during this climate crisis and with Climate Cardinals is a youth-led non-profit platform that makes environmental information more accessible to everyone through translation. As Cristina C. Leon, 17, a student based in Lima, Peru, who speaks Spanish, English, and German, said, "The climate-crisis clock is ticking, but any motivated bilingual student can start making critical information accessible during this climate crisis." Cristina is a volunteer at Climate Cardinals, a youth-led non-profit platform that makes environmental information more accessible to everyone through translation, understands that language is a huge barrier to the global transfer of scientific knowledge.
We would like to celebrate the efforts of Alyx, Eli, Iyla, and all the young environmental heroes around the world who are leading the charge against climate change. They prove that youth should not be a barrier to success and that small actions can have a big impact on the planet. We must continue to support and empower the younger generation to take action and create a more sustainable future for us all.
It is worth mentioning that all three young climate activists are students at the UWC International School of Thailand. This school has a strong focus on environmental education and sustainability, providing its students with the knowledge and skills to become global leaders in the fight against climate change. Through the school's various programs and initiatives, students are encouraged to take action and make a positive impact in their local communities and beyond. The fact that all three students leading the Plastic Free Phuket initiative are from UWC Thailand is a testament to the school's commitment to developing the next generation of responsible and environmentally conscious citizens. UWC Thailand should be celebrated for their efforts in empowering their students to create real-world change and for their dedication to making a positive impact on the environment.