Flossie Donnelly: The Irish 12-Year-Old Is Doing More For The Planet Than You

Ireland's very own Greta Thunberg

One. Small. Change. 

Twelve-year-old Flossie Donnelly is possibly the youngest sustainability champion in the country.

I was inspired to become an activist by realising my generation might not have a future planet to live on

For over two years, Flossie has become synonymous with clearing South Dublin beaches of plastic waste, hosting regular beach clean-ups; speaking at public engagements and climate striking every Friday. "I was inspired to become an activist by realising my generation might not have a future planet to live on,” explains Donnelly. “I’m inspired by Greta Thunberg, Dr Cara Augustenberg and an amazing lady in Indonesia called Irma Hutabarat,” says Donnelly. “She is planting vetiver which has roots that filter the poison from the Citarum (plastic) River, and in seven years she thinks the river will be clean again.”

Earlier this year, Donnelly launched her own charity, Flossie and the Beach Cleaners, that aims to tackle coastal pollution and to educate primary schools on the importance of coastal stewardship. Since then, the group has been growing, with large crowds regularly turning out for beach cleans. 

Caring deeply about the ocean and marine life, Flossie and her crew of beach cleaners want to help clear our waters of plastic and other trash to stop the damage being done to marine life. Through removing such rubbish from our beaches, they hope to stop fish and birds becoming entangled in plastic waste or ingesting plastic debris, which often results in suffocation, drowning or starvation.

Not stopping there, Donnelly has raised €4,000 for Ireland’s first sea bins in Dun Laoghaire and led the March for the Ocean in Ireland last June. Her fundraising efforts for the sea bins was particularly impressive. Developed in Australia, the sea bin sits just below the water’s surface and sucks in floating rubbish. They can collect up to two tonnes of waste a year, including 83,000 plastic bags or 20,000 plastic bottles. 

I like to know that I am fighting for my future and my little cousins' future. I believe strongly that being positive and happy will help us save our planet.

For the full article, check out this month's Irish Tatler. On shelves now.

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