#25 - OLIVIA CLEMENT
HOMETOWN: OTTAWA, ONTARIO
Two years ago, Olivia Clement might have been described as a timid young girl; by all accounts, an average 8-year-old, save for her life-long fascination for polar bears. Today, Olivia’s love for polar bears has transformed her into an advocate for polar bear conservation and an inspiration for like-minded youth across the country.
Although Olivia has only seen a real polar bear once in her life, she recalls feeling compelled to do something positive to help them during this climate crisis. From an early age, Olivia’s mother, a passionate environmental advocate who has been involved with fundraising for the WWF ever since she was a young girl, always instilled a sense of environmental responsibility for Olivia. It all began relatively simply, when Olivia began making clay figures of polar bears and offered them for sale to her closest family and friends.
In March and December of 2013, Olivia and her friends organized Polar Parties in her hometown of Ottawa, gathering great community support in the form of sponsorship and charitable donations. For the December party alone, they were sponsored by over 40 companies including Mattamy homes, Canada Post and the Royal Canadian Mint. Both Polar Parties exceeded expectations, and the first party alone raised over $4,000 for the World Wildlife Fund. WWF's sponsor, Coca Cola, then doubled the donation, for a total donation of over $12,000 from the first two polar parties.
Today, Olivia’s clay figure initiative has spread all over Canada to places like Winnipeg, Manitoba. The bears have even made their way overseas to the UK as part of the WWF’s polar bear campaign.
Based on a pay-it-forward model, anyone interested in making and selling their own bears can obtain the instructions from Olivia's webpage.
Today, 10-year-old Olivia is a shadow of her former shy self. She is lecturing class rooms and auditoriums of peers on the plight of polar bears, climate change, and what we can all do to help out. Of course, none of Olivia’s important work would be possible without help from family and friends. Through the WWF, Olivia met polar bear biologist Geoffrey York, who has taught Olivia much more about biology and conservation. In the near future, Olivia hopes to study biology in university and to follow in Geoffrey’s inspiring footsteps!
The Starfish Canada's Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 Magazine showcases the 25 finalists from 2014 with longer articles, new pictures, and captivating stories from across Canada.
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