Top 40 under 40 Search “Unearths” Inspiring Youth!
When Ridge Meadows Recycling Society and the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Times launched our search for the Top 40 under 40 Community Environmental Leaders, we didn’t know who would step forward. By the deadline, we had received nominations for over 40 youth who are taking action and making an impact in all kinds of ways.
From a 5-year old who vigilantly reminds his family to turn off lights and recycle everything they can, to a 13-year old who completed a 120km bike ride for his summer vacation, the next generation of environmentalists come with a built-in sense of urgency about the future they are growing into.
These are leaders in many fields – water, energy, and nature conservation; recycling and waste reduction efforts; local food and permaculture; visual and musical arts; and green business initiatives – many who have been aware of environmental issues throughout their lives and are now at a point where they are taking action.
“There is a sense of crossover between these fields,” says Leanne Koehn, who organized the search along with Ridge Meadows Recycling’s summer student, Jesse Russell, “I think the next generation sees the connections between all these fields and has a more holistic view on how they fit together to create a sustainable future for our planet. ‘Environmentalist’ is no longer a label, it’s a lifestyle.”
The original three categories (Child, Youth, and Adult) grew to include “Family,” “Class,” and “Honourable Mentions” as nominations started rolling in. “We didn’t want to exclude anyone,” explains Leanne, “This search was just a starting point to identify, highlight, and bring together youth who are making a difference. The longer-term plan is to work with them throughout the year and beyond to support their projects, and give them a platform for their ideas through our social media, website and newsletters.”
In addition to a special feature the Times is doing on the Top 40 under 40, they are all invited to a celebration at the Maple Ridge Recycling Depot where they will go on a special Depot Tour and receive certificates and gift bags containing items from local and environmental businesses and organizations. They will then head to the Municipal Hall for a photo opportunity with Maple Ridge Mayor & Council.
Click to meet our top 40 under 40 & read their inspiring stories!