Liz Enriquez is cleaning up Hamilton, Ontario.

Photo from Liz Enriquez.

Photo from Liz Enriquez.

#20: LIZ ENRIQUEZ
HOMETOWN: WATERDOWN, ONTARIO
AGE: 22

Growing up in Mexico, Liz Enriquez had always been interested in environmental initiatives, especially the worldwide issue of waste reduction and sustainable practices. “I've dedicated myself to improving local communities, volunteering for environmental causes, and expanding my knowledge of environmental issues and solutions, while visiting and studying in domestic and internationally sites.”

“It’s not common sense to care about the environment. It is interesting to know that some people don’t care about it. Understanding their perspectives has been really important for me. Caring for the environment is [often] a learned thing.” This drive is seen within all the initiatives Liz has been involved with.

Liz has a vast amount of volunteer experience that started in high school where she was actively involved with the school's environmental club. She worked to develop efficient models of waste diversion, and helped to educate the school population about recycling.

This passion and commitment to sustainability, and the drive to learn about international sustainability issues pushed Liz to travel and study aboard. She is currently studying Geography and Environmental Studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. During her university career, she visited Iceland and studied sustainability practices and infrastructures; she went on a field course to New York City where she learned about waste management systems in public and private parks, and she took 6 months to travel and stay in Vancouver in order to act as a sustainability intern.

While in Vancouver, Liz became involved in a rooftop garden at the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House in British Columbia. “The garden was meant to provide a multi-generational learning space in a centralized outdoor location. Its purpose was to add natural aesthetic beauty, teach participants, staff, volunteers and guests to the Neighbourhood House about healthy eating, food security, urban gardening, and provide a pleasing environment to enjoy the Vancouver skyline.” Liz helped initiate the process of writing grants and acquiring materials, instructed volunteers on how to nurture seedlings and grow plants that would thrive, and contacted various organizations and searched for donated materials.

Liz was happy to report that all of the green youth initiatives that she worked on while in Vancouver are still going strong. “My contribution to create a rooftop garden showcases my passion and commitment to the environment and has a positive outcome within the South Vancouver community.”

“Liz is an amazing, and inspirational environmentalist to the core,” says Liz’s friend and roommate Stephanie. “She works in the recycling industry and applies all of her recycling knowledge and passion everywhere she goes. Liz lives environmentalism and encourages everyone she meets to be aware of their impact of the environment without being overbearing, presumptuous or demeaning.”

Currently, Liz is an Organic Waste Leader with the City of Hamilton and helps develop programs aimed to encourage Hamilton residents to ‘put waste in the right place’. “I’m also the lead on Hamilton's award-winning Gold Box program which is a unique recognition program that awards gold coloured recycling boxes to residents who are excellent at recycling.”

Liz has bright plans for the future. “My areas of interest are waste management and diversion, urban green spaces and healthy eating… I see myself working at a non-profit organization in environmental education.” She would also like to continue to travel where she can also “learn from local communities about the environmental issues that affect them.” Liz also hopes to soon be fully trilingual (Spanish, French, and English) in order to share her knowledge of environmental issues worldwide.

“I’d like to work in a space that values creativity and environmental consciousness and also facilitates opportunities to work in various spaces- indoor and outdoor, local and abroad.”

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Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 2014 Magazine
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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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