As we celebrate Earth Day, one of the most hopeful signs for our planet’s future is the knowledge that environmental activists are still showing up—and, these days, as young as nine-years-old.
Lilly Platt, for instance, is traveling more than 600 miles (1,000km) from Holland to the Norwegian coast so she can play a key role in a massive beach clean‑up and Plastic waste conference.
The 9‑year‑old, together with her mother and grandfather, will be joining volunteers at the ‘Plastic Whale Coastal Clean‑Up and Conference’ on April 25th on the Norwegian island of Sotra.
The event is taking place in memory of the ‘plastic whale’, a Cuvier’s beaked whale that died on the Norwegian coast last year, its stomach full of more than 30 plastic bags.
“I started picking up rubbish after seeing the effect that it had on wildlife,” says Lilly. “I knew that every piece I picked up, was one less piece that could harm a living creature.”
As well as helping to clean up the island’s coastline, the youngster will be attending a high‑profile conference on plastic waste, along with key figures in the environmental movement from around the world discussing the growing problem, and how to protect coastlines from further pollution. (See more about the conference and how the ‘plastic whale’ spurred the founder below…)
Having been involved in many plastic pick‑ups in recent years, Lilly has been chosen as a Youth Ambassador for the Plastic Pollution Coalition, and a Child Ambassador for HOW Global.
The beach clean-up and conference were initiated by environmentalist Kenneth Bruvik, whose passion for the Earth’s coastlines spurred this collaboration of 28 organizations.
Kenneth, who will be acting as a mentor for the group, recalls his reaction last year when he first heard about the ‘Plastic Whale’.
“It hit me hard. I was crying, I was angry, and I said, ‘This is going to stop.’
He is excited about the conference, and sees it as part of groundswell of support across the globe for tackling single‑use plastics and the pollution they cause.
“I hope the Plastic Whale conference will act as a catalyst. When people from across the globe come together and speak in the same voice, it sends a powerful message.
“It says to politicians, to governments and to countries around the world that we have had enough, and we want plastic pollution to stop.”
The beach clean this week will restore what was once a pristine part of Norway’s coastline. The Norwegian government will be supporting the effort by providing cranes and other equipment to remove the heaviest waste items.
Lilly reminds us of the importance of everyone—businesses, governments, and citizens—coming together: “The natural world is the only one we have.”
If you would like to know more about the Plastic Whale Coastal Clean‑up and Conference, or would like to support this event in April, check in on their webpage.
Clean Up Negativity: Click To Share The News With Your Friends – Photos submitted by Benjamin Steele, who also was a contributing writer)