MARINA MELANIDIS, 24
HOMETOWN: VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA / UNCEDED XʷMƏΘKʷƏY̓ƏM (MUSQUEAM), SḴWX̱WÚ7MESH ÚXWUMIXW (SQUAMISH), AND SƏL̓ILW̓ƏTAʔꞭ (TSLEIL-WAUTUTH) TERRITORIES
Have you seen Marina Melanidis on NowThis? If you haven’t, you should. Youth making decisions about climate change and the solutions already being there in nature. That’s what she’s all about, and this grateful, goal-oriented girl knows how to make things happen.
Of course, Marina started out as a nature lover. Didn’t we all? You probably wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t too. And like many of us, she wants climate action – now. According to those she’s worked closely with, it’s the winning combination of passion and positivity that allowed Marina to soar to new heights.
So what’s her recipe to success? Start with good old co-op placements. Specifically, with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Natural Resources Canada, the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Parks Canada – and earn yourself merit-based scholarships to get experience around the globe from India to the Arctic.
It was after Marina’s Students on Ice Arctic Expedition, that she and a fellow climate leader were able to co-launch Climate Guides, with the goal to connect young climate leaders with professional mentors.
Meanwhile, representing the B.C. Council for International Cooperation, she attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) in Poland and founded a Youth Eco-Conservation Working Group within the youth constituency of the UN.
Just under a year ago, Marina launched another initiative with youth from all over the world – an international storytelling campaign complete with a digital story map called Youth4Nature. The focus? Nature-based solutions. Last summer they held a series of webinars connecting youth around the world with knowledge holders and scientists.
Youth4Nature has since grown to be a fully youth-led organization with a global team of young leaders. Marina helped lead a Youth4Nature delegation both to the conferences in New York and also COP 25 in Madrid last year. One of her co-organizers is Caroline Merner, a Top 25 winner in 2018.
You can expect Marina to be leading a youth delegation at the next COP delegation. The plan is to pressure decision-makers in the lead up to the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. You know, while simultaneously doing a Masters at UBC in nature-based solutions to climate change. Naturally.