Youth Action Network Meet-Up Unites 100+ Participants to Act on 30x30

Over 100 young environmental leaders from 20+ countries and territories united this past weekend for the first EarthEcho Youth Action Network Meet-Up! Building on the EarthEcho Youth Leadership Summit and OceanEcho 30x30 campaign, this virtual event provided an opportunity for participants to dive deeper into the importance of marine protected areas, build connections with fellow participants, and gain ideas and inspiration from their peers working on conservation efforts around the world.

The event kicked off with a welcome from EarthEcho founder Philippe Cousteau, who stressed the important role young people play in the work to restore and protect our ocean planet.

Special guests, Andrea Kavanagh, Project Director for the Protecting Antarctica's Southern Ocean campaign at The Pew Charitable Trusts and Dr. Cassandra Brooks, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, joined participants to share their presentation, “Antarctica needs YOUth to make the largest act of ocean conservation a reality in 2021” – outlining the critical need for increasing marine protected areas in Antarctic waters and the importance of public engagement in the strategies to accomplish this goal.  

Through an interactive scavenger hunt, participants had the chance to build relationships and find commonalities with their peers from around the world as the Youth Action Network community continues to grow. A series of youth led lightning talks, featured Amelia Fortgang (USA), Ibrahi Rodriguez (Ecuador), Matovu Nkoba Ismael and Nantume Masturah (Uganda), Veronica Cunitz (USA), and Merrisa Naidoo (South Africa) -  who shared ideas, inspiration, and lessons learned through their diverse conservation work. Their experiences focused on work developing virtual youth leadership and citizen science events, combatting climate change, sea turtle education and conservation, plastic pollution prevention and marine protected area advocacy.

Merrisa Naidoo presents on Youth4MPAs during the Youth Action Network Meet-Up.

As a call to action, members of EarthEcho’s Youth Leadership Council led participants through the process of planning a community based educational event focused on marine protected areas, using the new OceanEcho 30x30 Educational Event Planning Guide. This focused time allowed attendees to outline their event plans, and exchange ideas and best practices to help ensure the success of this work. With over 30 events planned this weekend, we look forward to seeing the collective impact of this work in the months ahead!

To wrap up, participants were invited to take the #MyOceanEcho Challenge – sharing the importance of marine protected areas with a global audience on social media.

A special thanks to our presenters, partners, and Youth Action Network community for your outstanding work this weekend and dedication to protecting our ocean planet!

Want to get involved? Join the EarthEcho Youth Action Network to be part of the OceanEcho 30x30 campaign and be the first to learn about future events!