A Q&A with Water Challenge Ambassador Emilia Fiebel
Meet a changemaker
EarthEcho International is an environmental organization dedicated to protecting and preserving our oceans and environment. Through their youth ambassador program, EarthEcho equips young people with the tools to create lasting change by organizing beach clean ups, hosting youth summits, and participating in water challenges. Rising high school senior, Emilia Fiebel, is one of their Water Challenge Ambassadors who has spent the past 2 years educating her community and collecting data on water quality. We caught up with Emilia to learn more about her work and EarthEcho’s mission.
EarthEcho is an international youth movement group, providing young people with the tools to drive meaningful environmental action. As one of their youth ambassadors, can you tell us a bit more about how you are involved with their mission?
I am returning to my EarthEcho family as a Senior Water Challenge Ambassador for the 2022-2023 term. As a youth ambassador, I get the opportunity to assist on projects and campaigns that the organization leads. This includes spreading awareness around their mission through interviews and blogs, along with many other chances to interact with our communities and share our achievements. EarthEcho gives us numerous resources to achieve our goals like worldwide data bases, testing kits, etc. My involvement with EarthEcho also includes speaking at conventions and after school programs to spread the word about this amazing organization and my experience as an ambassador.
How did you first get involved with EarthEcho? What inspired you to get involved in environmental advocacy and awareness in the first place?
I first got involved with EarthEcho after one of their previous senior ambassadors attended my middle school and told me about the application process. What inspired me to get involved with environmental advocacy was my love for the ocean. I grew up just 15 minutes from the beach in Hollywood, Florida where I spent a lot of my childhood. Now that I’m older, I could not imagine a future where the next generation might not be able to swim in those same waters because of climate change. That drive led me to learn more about ecology, sustainability and other subjects pertaining to the environment.
What are some of your daily responsibilities as a Water Challenge Ambassador?
As a Water Challenge Ambassador, I need to test a body of water at least once a month and during the months of September and March we are required to think of a project we can do in our community to educate the public on the importance of water monitoring.
As a regular speaker at environmental conventions, can you tell us about these experiences? What do you hope resonates with people when hearing your story?
The first major convention that I attended was alongside two of my childhood friends at the 2018 Algalita POPS Youth Summit in San Diego, California. That week was one of the turning points in my life where congregating with 200 other kids from all over the world and hearing their stories solidified how much I love being a part of the change that we are trying to make. Conventions and public speaking usually make me nervous, but I feel comforted knowing that what I share might inspire or teach something to someone else. When I speak, I hope my passion and drive resonates with others and pushes them to make those same changes in our world.
You are currently a high school student in Florida, what kind of projects are you working on in your own community/state? Are you working on any projects within your school?
Within my school I am currently working towards starting a Food Recovery Initiative program.
What is this initiative looking to do? How did you become involved with it?
The Food Recovery Initiative is a program with the purpose of educating, collecting, and donating unwanted and unopened food from the free lunch line of Florida public schools to combat food waste and community hunger. I became involved with this work when my sustainability teacher at my middle school started a food share table in our cafeteria and after volunteering every single day and monitoring the progress that we made, I knew that this was something I wanted to bring to my high school which is what I am currently working on.
With national beach day coming up on August 30th, do you ever get involved with beach cleanups or other types of volunteer work around water?
Last year I hosted a beach clean-up alongside one of the other Water Challenge Ambassadors to celebrate world water monitoring day but I also participate in local coastal and mangrove cleanups in my area.
What advice would you give to young people looking to get involved in environmental advocacy? Can you share any resources with us on how to get involved?I would say to take advantage of every single opportunity you have. When I started and wanted to be educated more on how I could get involved, I did a simple google search with words like 2022 climate convention or online environmental ambassadorship programs and I would go through every link and sign up for every opportunity that I found. Signing up for newsletters and online discussion groups is also just as important. Here are links to groups that I follow. Lastly, do not be afraid to use your voice. As young adults we have a unique perspective on the world. Everyone’s opinion is valid so do not hide behind your past self and step out into the future and embrace your passions.