Melissa Gerrard and Chuk Odenigbo are two examples of extraordinary eco-people. That's why they're #12 and #11 on our Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 list.
#12 CHUKWUDUM ODENIGBO.
Chuk Odenigbo believes in taking action, and not just talking about those things that can have positive impacts. That’s why he made a difference through his role as co-chair of Greenovations, a sub-committee of the Queen’s University (Kingston, ON) Alma Mater Society.
Through this venture, Odenigbo organized a committee to exchange traditional light bulbs with eco-friendly ones and perform green retrofits in local homes. On top of that, he created and published a do-it-yourself guide to increase the accessibility of this information to students.
Odenigbo plays an important and influential role in creating sustainability culture at Queen’s. “Most importantly, [Chuk] moved beyond token actions and ideological talk,” says nominator and Alma Mater Society’s Environment and Sustainability Commissioner, Adam DiSimine.
“Together with his committee, they caused real world change and physically modified houses for students. In doing so, they saved energy and money for their clients but more importantly forced people to think about sustainability and energy conservation.”
Odenigbo believes that recycling is an important component of sustainability. “What each individual person recycles alone makes a negligible effect on increasing the sustainability of the country we live in; however, that negligible effect can build up… Through the creation of a closed-loop system where everything used is reused in one way or another, there arises a betterment of society.”
#11 MELISSA GERRARD.
Melissa Gerrard, at a young age, found a need to create programs for those high schoolers looking to fill volunteer hours.
Thus, she started the FUN Links project and was their first coordinator. The project aimed to coordinate environmentally oriented volunteering opportunities and provide an outlet for high school students to participate in those programs.
Gerrard ran the entire program, including recruiting high school youth from various schools, organizing and hosting meetings, and researching volunteer opportunities – all while in grade eleven at her own high school.
Gerrard has continued to volunteer for the FUN Society, leading to employment with the organization. Her work has proven to be inspirational, educating youth to make a change within their communities and pass along the information they have learned through her.
To read more about the FUN Society, a charity dedicated to sustainability education and inspiring youth to protect and preserve the planet, click here.