June 8th, 2018

Youth Advisory Council

The Advisory Council helps to expand the reach and impact of World Oceans Day, on 8 June and with continued engagement year-round. Advisory Council members are instrumental in helping shape the development of World Oceans Day as it grows, providing new and unique perspectives, ideas, and recommendations. Together with the Advisory Council and our growing global network of partners from all sectors and in more than 100 countries, we provide opportunities for ocean conservation throughout the year. 

Anna Zaske

Member since 2018

At 17 years old, Anna Zaske has always considered herself an international student. Originally from Germany, Anna has lived in the US, Scotland, and now Denmark. The common denominator of every place she lived in was that there was always a sea or ocean nearby. Therefore, the ocean and marine life has always been a part of home for her. It is her peaceful place and she simply loves it.

Anna enjoys snorkeling, surfing, paddle boarding, swimming, and taking walks along our beautiful oceans. When not in the water, she loves playing volleyball and volunteering to lead Sustainability Tours around her school's campus to raise money for an orphanage in Peru. Anna wants to protect the fascinating marine wildlife and to preserve our vast ocean and all the amazing experiences it offers us.  She decided to join the World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council, because she believes by passionately collaborating both locally and internationally, WE can make a difference, and Anna believes we should begin NOW.

Click here to read Anna 's latest blog!

Baylee Ritter

Member since 2016

Baylee is a freshman at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois and has been instrumental in establishing several international service-learning programs pertaining to water conservation issues.

As one of the founders and student leaders of the International Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal Program, she has worked directly with students, police stations and pharmacies around the world to dispose of unwanted or unused prescription medication. The mission of the program is to provide communities with a proper method of pharmaceutical disposal that effectively reduces the misuse and abuse of pharmaceuticals, as well as, ensures the quality of our water and wildlife for future generations.In 2012, her program was named by the United Nations Environmental Program as the number one student environmental program in the United States and the third best program in the world in Gothenburg, Sweden. This honor put the program on the world stage which allowed them to expand the P2D2 Program to twenty-seven U.S. states, as well as Turkey, Brazil and Paraguay. In 2013, Baylee was asked to be a keynote speaker at the United Nations Tunza International Youth Conference in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss steps youth can take towards water conservation.

In her spare time, Baylee is a guest writer for the United Nations Tunza Youth Magazine, as well as, for ArKive magazine, which documents the endangered species of our world. Recently, she co-authored an informational student publication on biodiversity for the United Nations. In April of 2014, Baylee was also the keynote speaker on water preservation and the P2D2 program at the International Science and Arts Festival in Istanbul Turkey.

Note: Baylee is also involved with Sea Youth Rise Up.

Click here to read Baylee's latest blog!

Brandon Koots

Member since 2016

Coming from the beautiful island of Curaçao, an island in the southern Caribbean, my love for nature has always been immense. Not only because of the beauty of nature, but also for the peacefulness I feel inside when I’m around it or just looking at it.

Since last year I’ve been very involved in Scouting, but I’ve been a member since 2009. Other things I love are reading books and gardening. Although I’m not as much of a gardener as I used to be, it’s still something I like to do. I’m always down for an adventure and definitely love to try new things. Whether it may be moving to Japan or go do volunteer work in the Amazon forest. I haven’t done either one of them… yet. Oh and… I’m 19 years old.

Click here to read Brandon's latest blog!

Cade Terada

Member since 2018 

Cade Emory Terada is from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, which also happens to be the number one fishing port by volume in the United States. Throughout his time growing up there he saw changes in his home and wanted to do something about it. This led him to join the Alaska Youth for Environmental Action and served as a US Arctic Youth Ambassador from 2015-2017. As an Ambassador, he raised awareness about the impacts of ocean acidification as well as the impacts of climate change on the circumpolar Arctic. Cade currently attends Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont, and is pursuing a BA in environmental studies. 

Click here to read Cade's latest blog!

Caitlin Philipps

Member since 2016

My name is Caitlin and I am a 16 year old from Melbourne. I am a high-achieving, dedicated netballer, school leader, nerdy reader, thus Harry Potter lover, avid baker, chocoholic, artful pianist, devoted sailor, young girl determined to make a positive difference in the world. For that, the ocean is my starting point. I come from a family of sailors and therefore salt water runs through my veins. It is my first home and the place where I feel free. The ocean is the beating heart of the planet. It utterly destroys me that we as humans believe that the Earth is ours to corrupt and bleed dry when we share it with 8.7 million other species of plants and animals. The ocean is the most exploited system on the planet and that’s why I am here. It’s my starting point to change the world because as Emma Watson has said, ‘If not me, who? If not now, when?’ So, what better time.

Click here to read Caitlin's latest blog!

Eugenia Barroca

Member since 2016

Since the beginning of this 21-year journey, I’ve tried to express my passion for the ocean. Born and raised in Portugal, named as Eugénia and with nickname of Gé, I feel the 1500's spirit of discoveries inside me. The difference is that I wish to discover the patterns of marine life in order to contribute the best I can for the ocean's health and wealth. Our understanding of these waters of creation is still at its first steps, but together we can reverse our actions of the past and help ocean's life to thrive.

I am currently studying Bachelor’s Degree of Marine Biology at University of Algarve, in Portugal. Since 2011 I have done environmental volunteering. From 2012 until the present I participated in several activities organized by Ciência Viva, a National Agency for Scientific and Technologic Culture. My last collaboration was as a member of Youth Parliament from Sea for Society Project in November of 2015, at Brussels.

Click here to read Eugenia's latest blog!

Gabriella Schauber

Member since 2016 

Gabriella Schauber is highly passionate about the health of the oceans and the welfare of the animals that inhabit it. Gabriella is currently a 4th year university student studying Applied Animal Biology at the University of British Columbia, and will be pursuing graduate studies with the plan of practicing Animal Law.

Gabriella’s interest and passion for ocean and animal welfare has led her to participation in numerous national animal welfare and ocean conservation conferences, influenced her to become an active volunteer and staff member of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre in numerous capacities, and most recently successfully complete an undergraduate essay regarding animal welfare and public policy.

Gabriella is honored to have been selected to be part of the Youth Advisory Council and is looking forward to helping develop global solutions to address the issues facing our oceans.

Note: Gabriella is also involved with Sea Youth Rise Up.

Click here to read Gabriella's latest blog!

Gabrielle Tan

Member since 2018

Gabrielle Tan is a 16-year-old student in Malaysia who loves learning about anything to do with Geography and hopes to pursue Environmental Science in the near future. Friends call her Gabby, Gabs or Dory (long story) and she tries to live by the quote “Forever is composed of nows.”

Gabby’s earliest memories of the ocean are of playing in the sand and wading at the beach over in Sabah. She has always loved and been amazed by our oceans but it wasn’t until a school Geography trip to a Coral Reef Nursery that she realized the huge importance of our marine ecosystems and the sheer urgency for us to step up and protect them. Since then, Gabby has tried her best to raise awareness about coral reef conservation by speaking at assemblies, making videos, and running a blog about our oceans. She believes her efforts have just scratched the surface of what a whole team could achieve together and she couldn’t be more excited to be on the Council. Gabby is looking forward to a great year ahead! 

Click here to read Gabrielle's latest blog!

Ibrahi Rodriguez

Member since 2018

Ibrahi Rodriguez is thrilled to call the Galapagos Islands home. Although he wishes he could have spent his entire childhood there, he had to move to Guayaquil for several years. This experience made him realize that the environment can become contaminated when people don’t consider their actions. Overall, Ibrahi believes that growing up alongside the ocean in Santa Cruz, Ecuador, has had a huge influence on who he is as a person.

Ibrahi began working towards protecting the oceans three years ago when he joined the Ecology Project International (EPI). EPI is an NGO that focuses on citizen science projects and works alongside local youth and scientists to preserve the islands Ibrahi lives in. His interest in conservation spiked when the staff began discussing the green sea turtle monitoring program training camping. He jumped at the chance to join one of the training program and learned all about this beautiful animal. Ibrahi was so inspired by the end of the training that he continued to learn about the problems sea turtles are facing in modern society.

It took Ibrahi a while to decide what he was going to do to assist the efforts other NGOs were doing to protect this species. However with the assiatnce of EPI and other organizations, he is now getting ready to set up his own camp at another island in the archipelago. Ibrahi plans to teach the local youth about what he learned from his research and experience about the importance of sea turtles in the environment. This is a special moment for Ibrahi because he realized that he doesn’t have to be a professional to help the environment. As long as he has a passion for conservation and the right support from his local organizations,  he can start his own project.

Currently, Ibrahi is going to be one of EPI’s leaders for the green sea turtle nests monitoring program. That way, he can get the community of Santa Cruz, his home, more engaged and empowered so they can take immediate actions that over time will help conserve our beautiful environment. Now, at almost 18 years old, Ibrahi looks forward to becoming a marine biologist over the next five years so he can work harder than ever to protect the oceans. That is his strongest desire.

Click here to read Ibrahi's latest blog!

Kehkashan Basu

Member since 2018 

Winner of the 2016 International Children’s Peace Prize, Kehkashan Basu has been impacting the global fraternity for the past eight years with her work on peace, children’s rights, education for sustainable development, gender equality, and climate justice. Born on June 5th, which is also World Environment Day, she feels that it was pre-ordained that she should grow up to be an eco-warrior. In 2013, at the age of 12, she was elected for a 2-year term as UNEP’s (United Nations Environment Programme) Global Coordinator for Children & Youth. She became a member of its Major Groups Facilitating Committee and is the youngest person and the first minor to be elected into this position in the history of UNEP. A passionate advocate of children’s rights, Kehkashan is a United Nations Human Rights Champion and lends her support to the UN’s StandUp campaign. The UK Youth Climate Coalition named her as one the 8 global Climate Heroines of 2014.

Kehkashan is the founder of a youth organization, Green Hope Foundation, which engages, educates, and empowers young people to take local and regional actions on mitigating climate change, protecting oceans and natural habitats, stopping land degradation, reducing pollution and wastage and creating a sustainable future. Through ground level actions, she has led Green Hope members in planting several thousand trees, cleaned up a multitude of beaches, worked on mangrove conservation, adopted endangered turtles, engaged the community to reduce wastage and pollution, and adopted sustainable consumption as a way of life. Green Hope now has over 1000 members across Canada, USA, the Middle East, India, and Nepal. In her role as the voice of children and youth, she has spoken at over 50 United Nations and other international summits, travelling to over 20 Countries. Her internationally acclaimed work on sustainability has resulted in her appointment as the Youth Ambassador of World Future Council, Honorary Advisor for the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development – NY, Global Advisory Council member of Young Men 4 Gender Equality -USA, a Climate Reality Leader, member of KidsRights Youngsters, and a former Global Youth Ambassador for A World At School (2014~2016) to promote the cause of global education.

Kehkashan has received international awards from UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) in 2012, the 2012 Korea Green Foundation award, the 2013 International Young Eco-Hero award from Action for Nature, USA, the 2014 Kids are Heroes USA award, 2014 GESS award as Ambassador for the Environment, the 2014 Solar Pioneer Award, the  Non-Resident Indian of the Year award in 2015, and the 2015 International Diana Award. In 2017, she was conferred the prestigious Energy Globe Award and the Turner Social Change Prize.

Click here to read Kehkashan's latest blog!

Latisha Parkinson
Trinidad & Tobago

Member since 2016

La Tisha Parkinson is a 21 year old and currently studying for a Bsc in Biology with a minor in Environmental Natural Resource Management at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus. When La Tisha is not engaging in activities with her congregation at the Church of Christ in Arima, she spends her time engaging in meaningful discussions about life and society with other young people, and volunteering with the Caribbean Youth Environment Network where she is currently serving a term as the Public Relations / Communications Officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Chapter. La Tisha is anything but average, but you'll soon discover that for yourself.

Click here to read Latisha's latest blog!

Melati Wijsen

Member since 2016

My name is Melati, and I was raised my whole life on the beautiful island of Bali in Indonesia, surrounded by the ocean. Living only a few 100 meters from the water made it a huge part of my everyday life. Growing up here I realize the rapid development and consumerism society we live it, made me see a drastic change and increase of plastic garbage in the ocean.

Now I am almost 16 years old, a student at Green School and an activist with all my heart and passion. One day, three years ago, I had a lesson in class about inspiring people, who made a difference; like Nelson Mandela, Lady Diana, Mahatma Ghandi. I was so inspired that day, I went home thinking, what could I do? And you know what, I did not want to wait until I was older to make a difference; I wanted to do something NOW. I believe youths have a voice and the power to be the change the world needs today.

After some brainstorming and looking at some of the largest issues Bali was facing, I noticed garbage stood out the strongest. It was everywhere, and it didn’t take 12 year old me at the time to understand that all this garbage was ending up in one of the worlds most sacred spaces; the ocean. The seed was planted then and I have been on a journey for the past three years to get the people on the island of Bali to say no to plastic bags.

A small thought turned into a massive movement.

At the ages of 12 and 10…my sister and I started the youth driven initiative, Bye Bye Plastic Bags to make the people on Bali say no to plastic bags, through that we contributed to a stop to the constant flow of plastic into the ocean. Today Bye Bye Plastic Bags has become a well known movement with an important environmental message but also carrying an equally important message of youth empowerment. YOUTH can do things, we can make things happen.

Note: Melati and her sister Isabel were recently featured on a TED talk.

Click here to read Melati's latest blog!

Mohammed Wahabi

Member since 2016 

My name is EL WAHABI Mohammed, a 19 years old university student majoring in trade and management. I love to refer to myself both as a young writer, and a global citizen. I started working within NGOs to solve environmental issues, and tackle challenges related to sustainable development. I am member of a university club called ‘Green Invest’ that aims the protection of the environment and fostering sustainable development, and alongside active within several associations.

I always loved the sea more than anything else. Seeing its current condition, in many areas in Morocco, I feel that a part of me is fading away. We need to act urgently and effectively to protect and conserve the ocean, and raise awareness of the problems it face and what dramatic consequences it will engender, in order to become better stewards of our oceans.

Taking part in World Oceans Day is an opportunity that certainly will have a strong impact on the perspective of Moroccan people. Through highlighting the issue, it will enable them to understand that it’s a global concern, and it’s their personal responsibility to work and contribute to find solutions and fight to keep oceans healthy. I have so many ideas that will certainly add a lot to World Oceans Day, and much more willingness to work wholeheartedly to develop the event and attract people to join the cause.

Click here to read Mohammed's latest blog!

Nehara Pandey

Member since 2016 

I'm 14 years old. I’m from a state in India called Goa which is on the coastline. I am interested in pursuing a career in marine conservation. Last year for World Oceans Day, I had made a short video on the problems faced by the oceans using body art as visual representation.

I’ve spent the last five summer holidays exploring a new place in India and learning a new skill. I have an unwavering passion for the sea and all the adventures therein. I swim, sail, windsurf and scuba dive. The bottom of the sea has aroused my curiosity so much so that I’m now a rescue diver. My hobbies include horse riding, robotics, quad biking, and coding. Protecting the environment, especially the oceans has been an integral part of my life for the past five years.

Click here to read Nehara's latest blog!

Olivia Taylor
South Africa

Member since 2018

Olivia Taylor is a 20-year-old Political Science & Philosophy student from South Africa. She is the CEO and founder of Four Elements Conservation NPC, an environmental organization raising awareness and funding for environmental issues through innovative projects and youth development.

Olivia’s conservation journey started a decade ago, when she was first exposed to birding which led her, at age 12, to begin fundraising for conservation initiatives such as the Bearded Vulture Project. Over time, her love for the ocean grew, beginning after her first experience free diving with Tiger sharks.

You can learn more about Olivia by visitng her website, oliviaearth.org or checking out her organization at http://www.fourelementsconservation.org

Click here to read Olivia 's latest blog!

Patricia Zanella

Member since 2018

Patricia Zanella is 21 years old and lives in the historic coastal city Itanhaém, Brazil. She graduated with an undergraduate degree in International Relations and has been a member of the NGO, Ecosurf, since 2014. At Ecosurf, Patricia acts as an international institutional representative, facilitating the communication of Ecosurf with other institutions around the world to promote actions to protect the oceans. In 2018, she will start her Master's Degree in International Law focusing in International Environmental Law to understand the legal instruments that can help protect the oceans. Patricia’s passion for the sea, the environment, and all life present on earth encouraged her to make the ethical decision to stop consuming anything of animal origin. In her free time, Patricia is dedicated to disseminating a simpler life with less consumption through her website about sustainable fashion and conscious consumption.

Click here to read Patricia's latest blog!

Rufai Balogun

Member since 2018

Rufai Balogun is a 4th year student of Meteorology and Climate Science at the Federal University of Technology in Akure, Nigeria. He has a growing passion for disaster risk management in cities, particularly on the impact to water stress and scarcity on human health. He participated in the Online Youth Exchange of Care About Climate, a platform where climate advocates and students across the world exchange ideas and teach and train each other on climate change advocacy. He also serves as a member of the International RYSE Youth Council where he provides insights and researches how to tackle the challenges of fracking, plastic pollution, and fossil fuel burning through the use of art, media, and advocacy. 

You can connect with Rufai on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rufai.balogun2

Click here to read Rufai's latest blog!

Sang-Jin Kim

Member since 2016 

I am particularly interested in the issues of education and public awareness, access to and transfer of technology and impact assessment which were incorporated in the Convention on Biological Diversity. As youth advocate and delegate in various manners I uphold the question of education and awareness as a top priority, not only in the matter of biodiversity, but all global issues.

Joel A Barker once said that “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time.” We have the vision and the will to put these into action.
 My vision is a sustainable earth because there is no issue more important or urgent than protecting the only planet we have and ensuring that the next generations can grow up in a peaceful and equitable world.
 On the other hand, self-initiative must be the foundation of our freedom, our future and our faith.
 For that matter, I believe that I and - even more important - the Youth can and must take the initiative to make a difference in the world we live in.
 We have to choose our own destiny, otherwise our needs are likely to be ignored or insufficiently addressed which could lead to the ultimate constraining and silencing of our generation.
 If we children don’t raise our voice, stand up for our ideals and fight for our rights, who else will? It is a grand task for a grand society.

So how do we start? Raise awareness! I am already trying to advocate for a united fight against global warming by calling the attentions of friends, policy makers and young people to the matters of climate change.
 But as a member of the World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council I will go further and expand my initiative to the issue of ocean conservation which is also deeply connected to climate change. My dream would be to start an international online campaign expanding upon word-of-mouth initiatives and capturing momentum.

Click here to read Sang-Jin's latest blog!

Sofia El-Rass

Member since 2018

Sofia El-Rass grew up by the Red Sea and spent almost every weekend exploring the tropical beaches and reefs so, naturally, the oceans and seas have had a significant influence on her life. Sofia enjoy using her creativity and hobbies to bring her closer to nature whether it's fiddling around with underwater photography while she dives or painting Bob-Ross-styled depictions of nature.

Her initiation into pursuing a career in conservation started around two years ago after signing up for her first volunteering program with a non-governmental organization which exposed her to Dominica, the Nature Island of the Caribbean. Since then, Sofia has made conservation her number one priority as she has witnessed first-hand the devastating toll on our Earth due to climate change and careless actions.

This led her to embark on several experiences including an internship focused on the marine mammals of Portugal. She even became a regional ambassador for the organization behind the documentary Chasing Coral. Sofia also joined, and served a year of presidency for, her high school’s Global Issues Network club which helped her improve her activism through performing presentations on the problems our world faces. Through joining the Youth Advisory Council, Sofia hopes to continue her drive for positive change and help spread awareness on solutions to promote a more sustainable future.

Click here to read Sofia's latest blog!

Wenqin Zhang

Member since 2018

Born in an inland province in China, the ocean has always been a symbol of purity and sanctity to Wenqin Zhang. She recalls being surprised the first time she went to a harbor in Shanghai. The water there was dirty and smelly and although many pictures of fish and birds living in the mouth of Yangtze River were displayed at the harbor, no trace of animal activity could be seen. That experience made Wenqin realize that people living there, including herself, know so little about marine conservation. She noticed a lack of courses being offered in school, limited news stories and videos in media, and too few resources in real life for people to learn about this issue. Wenqin also became concerned that many of the current efforts to address these problems weren’t occurring on an international scale. She is interested in finding ways that counties can collaborate on solutions and international organizations can work together more efficiently.

Wenqin is now earning her Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations at Fudan University in Shanghai. Her current studies have convinced her that one goal can be better achieved when governments work together. She believes the same goes for organizations and even individuals. As a member of the Youth Advisory Council, Wenqin will try her best to be a messenger to promote cooperation and work with other members to get more people involved in the action! 

Click here to read Wenqin's latest blog!

How will you celebrate World Oceans Day?

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