Youth Advisory Council
The World Ocean Day Youth Advisory Council helps develop World Ocean Day into a unique opportunity to connect and unite youth and others around our blue planet, with the focus on action for a healthier ocean and more sustainable society.
Adam Zhou 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 a 19-year-old young 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 20-year old sustainability advocate and leader. As 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 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.
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 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 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.”
Jose Marie Eslopor
Jose Marie Eslopor
Born and raised in one of the World Mega Biodiversity countries, Jose Marie 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.
Lela DeVine 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.
Mhairi 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 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.
Paul Eweola Ayomide
Paul Eweola Ayomide
Paul Ayomide is a change agent, an Ocean enthusiast and an advocate for a clean ocean and healthy environment. He is currently a final year student at The Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria studying Fisheries and Aquaculture.
Paul Ayomide’s drive to further promote a sustainable planet earth and oceans has led him to founding Aquaworld, an organization devoted to enlightening people on the aesthetic values of the oceans.
Paul Ayomide believes working together yields faster and more productive results and this has propelled him to volunteering with other initiatives and organizations; he is currently serving as a Team Lead and a Regional Supervisor at Future Savers Sustainable Development Initiative, 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.
Paul Ayomide is also currently serving as the Volunteer Manager of U-Recycle Initiative, an initiative on a mission to emphasize a sustainable recycling culture and advance environmental sustainability across Sub-Saharan Africa, where he leads campaigns and coordinates other volunteers during events and projects. He is also one of the Global Youth ambassadors of the Earth-Day Network from Nigeria as a plastic champion.
Paul Ayomide’s involvement in different initiatives/organizations has led him to be involved in events and projects that address environmental problems. He believes the ocean and planet at large can be restored through our concerted effort and unity.
Ruth Edma Mwizeere
Ruth Edma Mwizeere
Ruth Edma Mwizeere 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.
Siobhan 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.
- 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