Sophia Skarparis: Young Conservationist of the Year 2018

By Australian Geographic 26 October 2018
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Earlier this year 15-year-old Sophia Skarparis started a petition to ban plastic bags in New South Wales.

In August her second meeting with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian took place; the first having happened in early May. “When I [first] met her I only had 7000 signatures so she was only going to respond by letter. After the meeting, I advised her office that I would set up a meeting with her when I obtained 10,000 signatures, as that means that she has to table the petition in NSW Government and it guarantees a conversation,” Sophia said. Since then Sophie has discovered that her petition has been tabled by Gladys Berejiklian, her local member, and is scheduled for a conversation in NSW Parliament on Thursday, 25 October at 4.30pm, the day before the AG Awards.

“I believe my generation can be the ‘game changers’. We are more conscious about the environment and looking for a more ‘shared’ economy. Also through the use of social media we can mobilise interested supporters in a way that has not been seen before. Our generation is seeing the negative impacts on marine and bird life that plastic is having. We are not tied to a need for plastic for bin liners or dog waste. We want the change where we can reuse bags, coffee cups, not use plastic straws or balloons and reduce plastic packaging of food.”

2018 Young Conservationist of the Year Sophia Skarparis received her award from special guest Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

Read about all the winners of the 2018 Australian Geographic Society Awards.

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