What have you been doing in 2018?
In October last year Shalise was invited to a conference in Melbourne to be filmed and interviewed by Philippe Cousteau from EarthEcho USA who is the grandchild of the legendary Jacques Cousteau who is the most famous undersea explorer of the 20th century. Philippe invited her to be interviewed as part of his ‘Youth In Action’ Program. EarthEcho International is a nonprofit organization founded on the belief that youth have the power to change our planet. Their mission is to inspire young people worldwide to act now for a sustainable future. Here is Shalise's video that was just released this morning talking about her fishing line bin project:
Shalise set up fishing line collection bins in her town and worked with her local council to receive part of a State Government EPA Grant to help expand this fishing line collection bin program around the region, this also includes signage, educational flyers and a local ranger to enforce marine litter rules. To make this happen Shalise did her own environmental studies and got approval from the council to install trial fishing line bins in her town and due to their success the grant was awarded to install additional bins. This benefits the community as there will be a lot less discarded fishing line in the waterways which will keep our oceans cleaner and keep marine life safe.
Shalise is also working on a presentation that she will be sending around NSW showing other local councils how successful the fishing line collection bins are and the steps involved to get them approved and installed. Shalise has also been honoured with a State Government Award from the Premier of NSW in 2018 for all of her community work with the environment.
Shalise hosted her own Clean Up Australia Day in 2018, once again her mission was to lead her local community and inspire them to keep the local beaches and waterways free from pollution. The radio station Hit FM were so impressed by her interviews on their radio station that they offered to come down on the day to help out which was so wonderful.
Shalise has been invited to speak at many local schools and preschools to talk to the students about pollution and how we can help protect our planet from rubbish and discarded fishing line. Shalise believes that by creating as much awareness as possible in our local communities, especially where fishing line disposal and plastic pollution is concerned, hopefully in the future the marine debris that is haunting our present ocean will be a thing of the past and will vanish from our world forever.
Shalise also make bracelets from the discarded fishing line she collects and the idea behind that is to “wear my fishing line bracelet on your arm, to keep it out of the ocean and the marinelife safe from harm”.
Shalise was also invited to speak in Lake Macquarie at The Living Smart Festival in 2018, Craig Reucassel from the TV show 'War on Waste' also spoke at this festival after Shalise.
What has been your motivation?
A few years ago I found out that every year thousands of marine animals including seals, dolphins, whales and sea turtles are injured due to people leaving behind their unwanted fishing line and pollution. When I found out on the Internet about how bad this can be, it made me really upset and I wanted to become a voice for them and help out as they can’t speak for themselves. It became my mission to clean up the local beaches to help save aquatic animals and bird life from rubbish and fishing gear.
Shalise on a mission to Clean Up the beach!
Why is the environment important to you?
The environment is very important to me as I love the ocean so much and spend most of my time either at the beach or lake. I love all marine animals and aquatic birds and want to do as much as I possibly can to keep them safe from pollution and discarded fishing gear.
The Clean Up Australia Day campaign is something that is very close to my heart and as a young Aussie it’s a day I am so passionate about. I loved hosting my own ‘Clean Up Australia Day’ in 2018 and it’s a great way to for people to meet up with their local community members for the morning and help keep our environment clean. It was so fantastic to join in with the locals and it shows that by working together we can make a real difference to help keep our oceans clean and keep Australia beautiful. I also actively clean the beach and lake areas in my town every weekend and pick up as much rubbish as I can find and it’s a great feeling to step back once I am finished and see nature looking clean and rubbish free – the way it should always be.
Shalise sporting the Clean Up Australia Day attire!
Any plans for the future?
Shalise as she has been working on an awesome Plastic Seas program with Earth Echo International USA that will be available for all schools around Australia and the world to watch for free showing youth how they can help protect the ocean from plastic pollution, this also includes STEM classroom lessons and activities for students.
Earth Echo picked Shalise from children all over the world to be the host of the Australian launch on 7th February 2019 which she is so happy about, this will involve an online live virtual tour to annouce the teacher/school resources available for use in all schools free of charge.
Shalise is also putting together an online guide (and videos) for other children showing them how they too can look at installing fishing line bins in their local area and waterways. She has been invited to be the ambassador of the Green Innovation School Awards 2019 for the Northern Rivers and will be speaking at the awards ceremony this year. Shalise will also be hosting another Clean Up Australia Day Event this year and can’t wait for that.
How do you feel about being a Youth Ambassador for Clean Up Australia?
Being a youth ambassador is such a wonderful opportunity and honour. By being a Clean Up Australia Day Ambassador I can use this amazing platform to inspire as many young people as possible to join Clean Up Australia Day events all around the country so we can keep our planet thriving and healthy to ensure that it stays the same way for many more generations to come. It is so important that the youth of Australia join together and be inspired to help protect our beautiful country and the planet.
I am proud to be a part of Generation Z and I believe that it shouldn’t matter how old you are, we should all try and become global thinkers and make a difference in our world today. And by being an ambassador it is a great way to inspire other people join in and for me to lead by example by the work I have done this year. My hope is that I also inspire other young people that if you have a cause or idea you are passionate about, don’t think you are too young to do anything about it. Us kids should take an active role in keeping our planet clean and green and making our voices heard.
Since plastic doesn't break down naturally, things that have a useful life of just a few minutes can pollute our ocean for hundreds of years. But luckily, we can take action by reducing, reusing and recycling to keep rubbish out of the ocean in the first place. Being an ambassador I can help promote sustainable living and showing people that by changing our own habits and replacing them with reusable items or more sustainable materials, we can slow the flow of plastic pollution in the environment.
One of the most important ways to make change happen is to educate people about a problem - and it's solution. And the ultimate solution is prevention and we need to keep that as our highest priority. We can refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle to keep rubbish out of the ocean in the first place. It’s a lot easier to deal with debris before we get to the ocean. Because until we stop marine debris at the source, we’ll just be cleaning it up forever. We need the ocean - and everything in it as it provides 70% of the oxygen that we breathe. And the ocean needs us to keep it free of debris. Some people may say, well, I’m just one person, so I can’t make a difference. But that’s just not true! If each person who creates trash (and that’s just about everyone) took action, it would add up to a lot of change.
Clean Up Australia Day is a great way that we can all join together and be part of the litter solution in our amazing country.
Why do you think Youth Ambassadors are important?
Being a youth ambassador is so important as we need as many global activist’s as we can so they can help spread the message to as many people as possible all over the world about how we can help save our amazing planet from pollution. I really believe that together the youth of today can make it happen, one step at a time. In previous generations, there was a feeling that when you were young, you were a bystander, an adult-in waiting, but today because of technology, we have the confidence and can get our message out there and try to change the world.
More than ever before the fate of the ocean is in our hands. We need to leave a thriving ocean for future generations and in order to do that we need to make changes big and small and think about the role we can play to keep the planet safe. I want to show how just one young person can make a difference in helping save our beautiful marine animals from extinction and to protect our ocean and earth for future generations.
Shalise collecting the deposited fishing line!