HOMETOWN: Pickering, Ontario
TRADITIONAL TERRITORY: unceded Anishinabek (ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᒃ), Haudenosauneega (Iroquois), and Huron-Wendat territory.
One year ago, Sam Demma took his burning passion for the environment and put it to use by creating an initiative that is cleaning up our planet.
As a young boy, Sam was always involved in the environmental initiatives that took place at school and in his city, but over the past few years he began to take matters into his own hands.
He teamed up with his best friend, Dillon Mendes, to start PickWaste -- an initiative that was started out of the necessity to clean up the community, with the underlying message to try and teach the younger generation that they have the potential to impact this world.
It began on Canada Day last year, when Sam and friends decided that they should clean up a local beach. After hours of picking up litter, they realized in a tactical way how large the problem of litter and plastic pollution could be. They decided that every Saturday that followed, they would get together to clean up their community.
To date, Sam and team have completed 44 cleanups and filled over 550 bags of litter from the city of Pickering alone.
And although they started with only 2-5 volunteers every week, they now get between 20-30 people every weekend. Sam runs the Pickering crew, with more teams in Scarborough and Hamilton coming this summer.
PickWaste’s mission is to “protect and conserve our home for the present and future generations.” This goal starts on the ground: picking up litter. But to Sam, it doesn’t end there. As he told us: “Our end goal is to clean up the globe and then restructure the entire system so it does not get polluted again. This would require corporations to change their products, and the general population to start consuming more consciously. I know it’s a massive goal but the pace at which we are growing looks very promising!”
And like a true environmental leader, Sam understands how important it is to bring people together under a common cause. His colleague, friends and family proclaim Sam for his embodiment of passion, honesty, and hard work. He has proven to those around him how a single individual can create change in the world. Sam’s eleven nominations in this year’s Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 shows the love and support he has in his community, and we’re excited to see what comes next for him.