Sustainability Hero Flossie
12 year old Flossie Donnelly, from Dublin, has been making waves across media and environmental platforms with her dedication to Turning the Tide on Plastic and not only bringing the local community on board to clean up the local beaches, but also making international speeches.
So we had to meet this inspiring girl for a chat.
When did you start your campaign to clean the coasts of plastic and litter?
The problem of sea litter hit me when I was six. I was kayaking in Thailand on holiday with my mum and the amount of rubbish in the water was crazy, so I decided to fill the kayak with rubbish as we paddled about.
I hear your local community are on board with local beach clean ups now
Yes, I live near the beach and we go crabbing for fun and to enjoy the coast. I noticed the rubbish and started picking it up. I then decided to try to make a group out of it, so that more local people could join me in clearing the litter.
Is it children leading the way or parents encouraging their children to make a difference?
It’s funny, kids sometimes come bored dragging their feet and then when they get involved they end up really enjoying themselves and find “treasure” that they want to bring home.
Tell me more about the Seabins you fundraised for
The Seabin can sit in sheltered waters and suck the micro plastics from the surrounding area in to it.
I fundraised for two. The Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company offered for the first one to go in the marina and the marina empties it. And a second one is now in the National Yacht Club and will be launched in Spring 2019. They are the first two Seabins in Ireland. Annalise Murphy came down to the National Yacht Club to thank me.
We hear you have spoken at a few climate change conferences - how did that come about?
People saw what I was doing on social media, so they started emailing me to ask if I could come to talks and conferences. I say “yes please” because it gets the word out there. The biggest audience was Accenture International Woman’s Day Conference with 1,700 people. Meeting Mary Robinson when I spoke at the the Climate Change Conference in Trinity was amazing - she asked if I was nervous and was very kind. The Green Party asked me to speak for the Climate Change Rally in Merrion Square in November. Being invited to give a Ted Talk was incredible – now live here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjgmHYVjIV8
What was your message at all these talks?
How you can recycle plastic, how I started it and how I don’t want my generation to have clean up the mess my parents’ generation caused.
Do you sail Flossie?
I sail with Kieran O’Gorman and the gang on the West Pier. I like to steer and be captain of the boat.
Do you have a message to the sailors of Ireland?
Pick up some rubbish when you see it, it’s really not that hard – fill your boat like I did.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
If you have been inspired by Flossie then consider joining your local Beach Clean group or do your own 5 Minute Beach Clean next time you are on the beach.
If you want to follow Flossie’s story she runs a great blog https://flossieandthebeachcleaners.com/
Irish Sailing are working with World Sailing to contribute to the development with World Sailing Sustainability Agenda 2030. We would like to encourage everyone to go ‘Single Use Plastic Free’, and make steps to reduce their impact on the environment. We have some useful tips for individuals and venues here