The Oxygen Project’s First Annual 30 Most Inspiring Eco-Warriors Under 30
On this extraordinary 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we could not be more excited to announce The Oxygen Project’s 30 most inspiring young eco-warriors on the planet. These are the movers, the shakers, and the fixers that represent the best and brightest that the global environmental movement has to offer. They come from 13 different countries, representing 6 continents, and span every part of the environmental movement. Choosing these honorees among thousands was a long and daunting task that relied on months of research and outreach. The final product: a collection of bold risk-takers putting the planet before themselves and showing us all how to carry the environmental torch into the twenty-first century. The future looks bright – take a look.
Quannah Rose Chasinghorse – United States
Quannah is an advocate for environmental and indigenous rights. She comes from a tribe in Alaska where “a lot of our communities and villages on the coast, because of erosion, are literally falling apart. Communities are being evacuated from their own homes and ancestral lands because of climate change.” The 17-year-old recently helped win protections for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which the Trump administration opened to oil drilling.
Penny Tover – United States
Youtube and Instagram influencer, Penny Tovar, was long known for being a beauty expert until she put a new spin on her content. After watching a video by Lauren Singer, she was shocked by how much trash a single human being produces. She was inspired to rethink her daily habits and promote more sustainable ones. The influencer is now an advocate for vegan and cruelty-free beauty products and has teamed up with beauty-recycling programs to encourage her subscribers to do the
Helena Gualinga – Ecuador
Seventeen-year-old activist Helena Gualinga, daughter of the First Uprising, and a member of the Sarayaku community in the Ecuadorian Amazon, is a global voice for indigenous rights and the protection of the living forest. On September 20th, the eco-warrior traveled to New York with her peers and fellow indigenous allies to march in the New York City Climate Strike. There, Helena was called on by one of her peers – Greta Thunberg – to be a voice for indigenous communities in the fight against climate change. “Indigenous children are some of the most important activists,” Helena says, “because by living in native communities, they are protecting the forests in the Amazon.”
Nayana Premnath – India
When Eco-Youtuber Nayana Premnath committed to a low/no-waste lifestyle, she invited her followers along for the ride. With popular videos such as Go Zero Waste Today: 5 Simple Steps You Can Take to Start Your Journey, Nayana argues that living low-waste isn’t as difficult as one might think. She’s realistic and encouraging about her journey, proving that the swap is as simple as making more thoughtful choices throughout the day. Check her out on Instagram for more actionable steps toward living a plastic-free and sign up for her Zero Waste Workshop!
Haven Coleman – United States
Haven Coleman may only be 12 years old, but she’s already a force to be reckoned with. When learning about ancient Amazonian trade in her social studies class, the word deforestation popped into the dialogue and her mindset changed forever. As she learned more about the topic, she came to realize that entire ecosystems and communities were being destroyed by something even bigger than deforestation – climate change. Following in Greta Thunberg’s footsteps, she helped bring climate strikes to the United States. She is one of the founding members of the U.S. Youth Climate Strike, a movement that encourages thousands of young activists and students across the country to skip school and continue to speak truth to power.
Anna Masiello – Portugal
Twenty-six-year-old Anna Masiello is based in Lisbon, Portugal, and is currently working toward a Master’s degree in Environmental and Sustainability Studies. Her Instagram is chock-full of tips on how easy it is to eliminate trash from our lives. She uses the platform to provide insights on the major health benefits of being present in nature. She also co-founded a startup about waste reduction and sustainable fashion and works as a freelance zero waste consultant.
Livia Van Heerde – United Kingdom
Livia Van Heerde is a guru for sustainable fashion. She uses her Instagram feed to showcase ethically and sustainably-made garments. She’s been an eco-warrior for some time now, and actually received her BSC in Environmental Science from Queen Mary University of London. “The more I learned, the more I realized that I could not ignore this problem. I wanted to use my platform to speak up,” she says.
Kathryn Kellogg – United States
Twenty-eight-year old Kathryn Kellogg, the self-proclaimed “climate optimist,” is the author of 101 Ways To Go Zero Waste and also happens to be National Geographic’s spokesperson for plastic-free living. But Kathryn wasn’t always such an environmental enthusiast. Her lifestyle change was triggered by a breast cancer scare back when she was in college. Thankfully, the tumors turned out to be benign, but they still caused her constant pain. In an attempt to treat it, Kathryn transitioned to a more holistic lifestyle. Now she’s been pain-free for over three years! Check out her blog to read more on her inspiring story and follow her on Instagram for tips on living a low-waste sustainable lifestyle.
Jay Anstey – South Africa
At just 29, South African model and actress Jay Anstey is as passionate about creating a kinder and healthier planet as she is about blockbuster films. Jay utilizes Instagram to document her plant-based journey and share why a vegan diet is the single best way to reduce one’s environmental footprint. Follow her to find out how you can make a positive impact on the planet from your home kitchen.
Mimi Elashiry – Australia
If you frequent Instagram, there’s a good chance you already know model and fashionista Mimi Elashiry. But her feed is more than just pretty pictures – she uses it to raise awareness on the environmental cost of fast fashion and encourage her followers to consider sustainable, organic, or recycled materials. Recently, the young environmental advocate teamed up with Adidas Australia to transform ocean plastic pollution into stylish sportswear. Check it out.
Louise Descamps – France
Louise Descamps is another hot young fashionista fighting against fast fashion. Her Instagram and blog, which feature stunning images of her casual vintage style, are proof that sustainability can be haute. Louise interviews French designers of upcycled fashion, discusses the importance of choosing cruelty-free and sustainable materials, and highlights loads of eco-responsible brands and products. For ethical fashion inspiration, check her out on Instagram.
Madeleine Olivia – United Kingdom
YouTuber, blogger, and author of Minimal: How to Simplify Your Life and Live Sustainably, Madeleine Olivia has made it her life’s mission to inform others on the simplicity of an eco-friendly lifestyle. Her blog covers plant-based recipes, DIY beauty tips and insightful ways to practice self-love for a happier, healthier life. Olivia has also amassed an impressive following on Youtube with simple and easy-to-follow videos on minimalism with videos like 25 Surprising Ways to Save Money by Going Green.
Alexandria Villaseñor – United States
In 2017, Alexandria Villaseñor’s family took a vacation to California that changed the course of her future. The vacation happened to coincide with the deadliest fire in California history. The smoky air exacerbated her asthma so much that she was forced to retreat back to New York early. But when she got back home and began to research, she quickly came to understand how fires were inextricably linked with climate change. Inspired by Greta Thunberg, she joined Fridays for Future, an initiative that encourages kids to skip school and protest. Now she sits outside the U.N. headquarters every Friday, rain or shine, frequently holding a cardboard sign, which reads “SCHOOL STRIKE 4 CLIMATE” and “COP24 FAILED US.” To take her commitment a step further, and organize other young activists, Villaseñor founded Earth Uprising – a worldwide community of like-minded youth activists.
Sarah Gauthier – Canada
Sarah, known to her friends as Scuba Sarah, is a French Canadian scuba diver. In August of 2018, Sarah embarked on a mission to visit and dive in all seven continents. She traveled with only one mug, one bottle of water, one straw and one reusable cutlery, to inspire people to live more sustainably. When trying to encourage people to understand why we need to protect our planet, Sarah uses a unique tactic – she to share the beauty of our oceans, rather than the destruction of them. “In order to have the will to protect something, you first have to love it,” she says. Sarah wants people to know what’s under the surface that’s worth saving. To learn more about her journey across the seven continents you can follow her on Instagram or watch this video.
Timoci Naulusala – Fiji
Timoci Naulusala, a 14-year-old boy from Fiji, is changing the course of our planet for the better. As a resident of an island nation, he has experienced the effects of a warming climate more than most. In 2017, he captivated world leaders with his opening speech at COP23. His speech called on our “global village” to take action on climate change and urged world leaders to actually “walk the talk” and quit playing the blame game.
Xiye Bastida – Mexico
Seventeen-year-old Xiye Bastida grew up in San Pedro Tultepec embracing the Otomi indigenous belief that if you take care of the Earth, it will take care of you. Today, the high school senior, who is headed to UPenn in the fall, is one of the strongest and most effective voices in the youth climate movement. Her fight against climate change was spurred by a prolonged drought in her small town, followed by heavy rainfall and major flooding. It was then that she realized the Earth’s natural balance was being disturbed and she needed to make a difference. She believes there is no climate justice without social justice.
Shruti Jain – United Arab Emirates
Creator of Style Destino, a luxury vegan fashion blog, Shruti Jain is on a mission to prove that ethical fashion doesn’t have to mean compromising your style. She strives to inform her followers why their shopping choices matter so much and encourages them to drop fast fashion and instead opt for cruelty-free apparel that’s equally as sustainable as it is stylish.
Sagar Singh – India
After the Indian government cut down 2,500 trees in the Aarey Forest—also known as the ‘Lungs of Mumbai’ — for a city metro project, Sagar Singh took matters into his own hands. Mr. Earth pledged to plant 4,000+ trees in and around the Aarey Colony to restore what was lost and even teamed up with famous Youtuber Saiman Says to spread the word. To help with the purchase of saplings and trees for Singh’s reforestation project, visit his crowdfunding page to learn more.
Tabatha Knudson – United States (Hawaii)
Lifelong surfer Tabatha Knudson, who grew up in Hawaii, became acutely aware of environmental stressors facing her beloved ocean after joining her local chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. There, she learned how to advocate for state and local climate initiatives, and how to plan advocacy events. Knudson continued her role as she moved to the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she spearheaded a campaign to ban plastic straws on campus. Today the college student continues to fight for the rights of indigenous communities and the health of our planet.
Louise Follain – France
Parisian model Louise Follain is known for her stunning good looks and chic street style — but it doesn’t stop there. When she’s not doing photoshoots, she’s working hard to prove that the cosmetics industry – one of our biggest polluters – doesn’t have to be cruel or harmful to the environment. She teamed up with eco-friendly cosmetics store “La Bouch Rouge Paris”, and together, they’ve launched a cruelty-free lipstick that comes in 100% reusable and eco-friendly packaging, with no micro-plastics or beeswax. For every lipstick sold, 100 liters of water are donated to the charity, Eau Vive International.
Emily Penn – United Kingdom
A graduate of the University of Cambridge, Emily Penn is an ocean advocate and skipper who has spent the last decade of her life dedicated to solving the plastic pollution crisis in our oceans. Emily is a regular TedX speaker who has given lectures at conferences around the world encouraging people to take action on the health, safety and future of our oceans. Emily is the co-founder of eXXpedition, an all-female research team dedicated to investigating causes and solutions of ocean plastic pollution. If you want to learn more about all the incredible eco-warrior projects Emily is working on, follow her on Instagram.
Blue Ollis – United Kingdom
As a Youtuber, blogger, and author of “The Guide To Sustainable Living,” Blue Ollis is changing the game in the UK by promoting a minimalistic lifestyle and teaching others to monitor their daily consumption. Her digital platforms are dedicated to intentional living through mindfulness, sustainability, social justice, radical self-love, and holistic wellness. Since animal agriculture is the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, ocean dead zones, water pollution, habitat destruction and species extinction, Blue urges that a plant-based diet is the best way to reduce your carbon footprint. You can read more about this UK-based earth lover on her blog.
Dante Vergara – Chile
Dante Vergara is an 11-year-old from Chile, who recently addressed the UN General Assembly for the protection of the environment as part of the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Children’s Rights Convention. Dante´s interest in entomology – the study of insects – inspired his belief that small things can have a huge impact. He urges, “It is us who are going to inherit an increasingly sick world. Without a healthy environment, all our rights are threatened. Climate change has no borders and affects all living beings in the same way, so the problem must be faced by everyone.”
Brinkley Davies – Australia
Twenty-six-year-old Brinkley Davies grew up on the coast of Australia, learning to surf at the tender age of 4 and competing until 18. In late 2016, after earning a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology, she founded her own registered charity and environmental Non-Profit Balu Blue Foundation that aims to create animal sanctuary zones around Australia. Her foundation is also part of the movement to bring awareness to the Great Southern Reef to protect it from future bleachings. Follow her on Instagram to check out all her stunning captures under the sea.
Jessica Uy – Philippines
Twenty-two-year-old Jessica Uy is “just trying to do better.” She started her Instagram account back in 2015 when she decided to go vegan overnight. Her profile features beautifully delicious plant-based meals. The quick lifestyle change was inspired by the documentary Earthlings, when Jessica realized that she no longer wanted to contribute to animal cruelty. She eventually learned that it wasn’t just animals that were suffering as a result of her dietary choices, and that the environmental impact to our planet was even bigger. Now, in an attempt to fight deforestation, she has teamed up with One Tree Planted and made it her mission to plant 2 trees for every purchase of her ebook, Vegan Kitchen.
Margarita Samsonova – United Kingdom
Margarita is a London-based 24-year-old who has already visited 55 countries and says she’s “really just starting!” It’s no surprise that Margarita wants to see, and take care of, as much of our planet as possible. She says her family brought her up to be an explorer and adventurer. Most of her childhood was spent hiking, camping and exploring nature. She studies animal behaviour and conservation in Oxford and uses her Instagram and blog as a diary to inspire others to travel responsibly.
Jack & Finn Harries – United Kingdom
Carmen Jenny – Switzerland
Carmen Jenny is a self-proclaimed “sustainability enthusiast” who is using fashion as a voice for our planet. Her fashion-blogazine, Carmitive features eco-friendly fashion outfits and vegan, cruelty-free beauty alternatives. She aims to be as transparent as possible when it comes to the negative effects of the fast fashion industry, while sharing her favorite eco-friendly brands and encouraging others to keep tabs on where their clothing is sourced.
Tolmeia Gregory – United Kingdom
Nineteen-year-old Tolmeia Gregory is an environmental activist and sustainable fashion blogger from the UK. She started her blog when she was just 11 years old and has never strayed from her mission statement over the many years. “My mission is to help inspire a more conscious generation that cares for the planet and our clothes.” Her ultimate goal is to be an ethical fashion designer, following in her mother’s footsteps, and to create a brand that allows people, no matter who they are, to be confident in their appearance and in the sustainable quality of their clothing.
No Name Required!
Greta Thunberg’s name probably rings a bell to you, but if it doesn’t… Greta is a 17-year-old climate activist making waves around the world. Originally from Sweden, Greta has made it her life’s mission to change the course of the future of our planet. She has gained international recognition for promoting the view that humanity is facing an existential crisis in the name of climate change. She leads other youth activists in a school climate strike movement, Fridays for Future. Since speaking at the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, student strikes now take place around the world every week. Greta was also the youngest person to be named Time’s Person of the Year, has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize and was included in Forbes list of The World 100 Most Powerful Women.