11-year-old Bajan environmentalist, Maria Marshall, was traveling with her mother when she saw a passenger in another car improperly dispose of a plastic bottle by throwing it outside the moving vehicle.
Perplexed by what she had just seen, Marshall wondered why plastic and other waste products couldn’t be properly disposed of, and as a means to sensitize the public and also contribute her very own quota towards protecting the environment, she decided to create a YouTube channel purposely for that.
In her video titled Little Thoughts On Big Matters, Marshall sent out a message on how to “reduce, recycle and repair” – which is her motto – by encouraging the use of reusable bags instead of plastic bags. She also reminded viewers of the need to always recycle plastic bottles.
According to Marshall, her channel “shows little children and adults how their little ideas can have good effects on our environment.”
The educative 1 minute, 29-second video went ahead to win two awards at the UNDP Small Island Future Fest 2019 and the 2019 National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA), making her the youngest award-winning filmmaker in her native country.
Marshall’s video and activism did not also go unnoticed as her efforts were lauded by the Caribbean island’s Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, as well as award-winning Hollywood actor, Orlando Bloom.
In a recent interview with the British actor ahead of Universal Children’s Day on November 20, the young environmentalist recounted the incident with the passenger who threw the bottle out of the car and how it spurred her to start her activism.
“Because my mom is such a great driver we did not get into an accident, or anything like that since she had to swerve not to hit the object. Then I had a moment to think. Is this normal in Barbados, and why do people think this is a great idea to dispose of their plastics and other items in this way?” she asked.
Marshall also said if she was in charge of the United Nations, she’ll “change how people think about the environment and earth,” adding: “I notice that people think that there’s like another environment somewhere out there … well, we only have one environment, so we need to protect it.”
Following her interview with Bloom, she met prime minister Mottley, and the two discussed a host of topics on how to sustain the environment. The young activist also revealed she is planning on making a video about ocean sustainability and the need to protect its reefs, the country’s Government Information Service reported.
“We want you to help fight climate change because when all of us may be gone, it is you, your generation and your children that are going to have to be fighting its consequences. And so, the first thing we have to do is to educate people at all ages, and that’s what you are helping us to do,” the prime minister said.
Mottley also lauded Marshall for her interview with Bloom and encouraged her to keep up with her efforts.
“I genuinely mean that because you have what we didn’t have when we were growing up – the power of the Internet. You have the power to reach people in Australia, Africa and Asia, just with your message,” Mottley told her.
“One of the things that we’ve always said about Barbados is don’t mind how small we are; we punch above our weight…. So, don’t mind how small you are, you continue to punch above your weight.”
Marshall, who dreams of being a prosthetics doctor, also hopes to establish a club in her school so she and her mates can brainstorm on a host of issues and share those ideas, the Government Information Service reported.