Introducing the World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council

This new Advisory Council will help expand the reach and impact of World Oceans Day, on June 8th, and year round. Advisory Council members will be 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 dozens of countries, we will also expand opportunities for ocean conservation throughout the year.

Caitlin Philipps - Australia

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! 

Gabriella Schauber - Canada

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 Blog!

Brandon Koots - Curacao

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!

Sang-Jin Kim - Germany

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!

Nehara Pandey - India

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.

Melati Wijsen - Indonesia

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 - Morocco

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!

Oghenechovwen C. Oghenekevwe - Nigeria

Oghenechovwen Christopher Oghenekevwe is a B.Tech student of Meteorology and Climate Science, a youth advocate, environmentalist, and writer. Born and bred in Warri, he has a growing passion for creative writing, community mapping, youth engagement, climate action, environmental sustainability and conservation. A former Intern at Green Campus Initiative, he is currently a Commonwealth Correspondent focusing on environmental and climate issues. Oghenekevwe loves to connect with people. Say hi via: Facebook: /kevwe.chovwen; Twitter: @c_oghenechovwen; Email:

Click here to read Kevwe's latest blog! 

Eugenia Barroca - Portugal

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! 

LaTisha Parkinson - Trinidad & Tobago

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 La Tisha's latest blog! 

Baylee Ritter - USA

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! 

Bill Mott 06-Jun-2016