Mae Chew

Mae is a 17-year-old student and environmental justice activist living in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. By harnessing the power of policy, storytelling, and technology, she champions the role of Indigenous knowledge in strengthening resilience against environmental degradation. 

Having led youth mobilization efforts for a campaign to re-gazette the Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve, Mae was inspired to co-found The 14% Project: a network of young Malaysians pushing for equitable Indigenous participation in natural resource management. In 2021, the group held the inaugural National Youth Conference on Indigenous Rights, marking the first time a platform was created for Orang Asli villagers to speak directly to the people without media presence, and the launch of the first digital art exhibition centered around Orang Asli and Asal narratives. 

Mae has also been named a WWF-Malaysia Eco-Champion and NRCF grant recipient for her leadership in river conservation. At a community level, she helms Rise 4 Rivers, engaging Klang Valley youths in water quality/biodiversity monitoring, river restoration, and policy advocacy. On a more international scale, she serves as the youngest Youth Advisor to the Energy and Environment Institute at Hull University, where she conducts research on adaptive strategies for climate change challenges in the Red River Catchment, Vietnam.

As a Member of the Malaysian Youth Parliament, Mae strives to elevate youth and Indigenous voices in decision-making processes. She is helping to drive the implementation of city-level youth advisory councils on water resources, and is organizing a coalition of Youth MPs to urge the inclusion of Jakun voices in rehabilitating Tasik Chini. Mae was selected to represent UNICEF at the World Children’s Day launch event at Parliament, where she addressed the Prime Minister and other policymakers on the need for intergenerational collaboration in achieving legislative progress. 

In her free time, Mae can be found immersed in a variety of disciplines. An amateur filmmaker, she documents Orang Asli culture through fieldwork and short film productions. She also enjoys creating social impact at the intersection of machine learning and the environment, having represented Malaysia at the 2021 Stockholm Junior Water Prize and UN Internet Governance Forum.

Through EarthEcho, Mae looks forward to expanding the 30x30 movement in Malaysia, and engaging in creative collaboration with a diverse group of young ocean conservationists. She cannot wait for what the next two years on the Council will bring!