Despite the addition of a pandemic to a world undergoing climate change, Salmon Arm’s 18-year-old Mirella Ramsay remains upbeat and optimistic about her goals.
It was 17 months ago that Mirella approached a friend with her ideas for tackling the environmental crisis.
From that exchange was born the Mirella Project, a group of 11 girls ranging from 16 to 20 years old. Their mission: ‘Building community through saving the environment.’
Last year they either hosted or took part in a number of events in Salmon Arm, ranging from eco-info nights to the Global Climate Strike to Gifts Gone Green night for Christmas. They were also the recipents of RBC’s Future Launch grant.
This year a school program promoting sustainable living through Indigenous knowledge and modern science was going well – up until spring break and the pandemic.
“We were starting to see amazing progress with the students, and it was so, so exciting,” Mirella said.
Now the focus has been on reshaping what 2020 will look like for the project. The girls decided to ramp up their online presence and maintain a focus on positivity.
Weekly blogs from three different writers are featured on the Mandella Project website and Facebook page, along with a weekly theme on Instagram. The theme at the time of the interview, for example, was self care.
“Also what we’re really trying to do is be positive in a time which is really uncertain and scary. We want to just be a little shining light and say, ‘here’s some positivity for you today.’”
While Mirella has seen some positive changes for the environment through the pandemic, such as fewer airplanes flying, she wonders how going back to former ways will affect the Earth.
“I think the coolest part right now is we get to see that it’s not impossible to reduce our emissions and to live a more sustainable lifestyle. It’s not easy but it’s not impossible.”
Mirella likes a quote she heard recently, that humanity has always faced challenges but has often overcome them. She sees the pandemic and climate change as challenges people can overcome if they work together.
Simple switches in their daily lives are what the Mirella Project would like to see for people.
“If it’s a win for the planet, most of the time it’s automatically a win for you.”
Mirella speaks with passion about what she wants most.
“People are always like, ‘oh, you’re just too optimistic.’ It’s not optimism, it’s hope. Hope is what changes the world. Hope is what brings people together and hope is what makes people fight for what’s right.
“There’s enough good in this world to fight for and I think if everyone works together, fighting for the good will be easy. And that’s what I really want.”