Eleven-year-old Barbadian environmentalist wows world

Screenshot of Maria Marshall during Voices of Youth UNICEF campaign interview with actor Orlando Bloom, UN goodwill ambassador.
UNICEF

Maria Marshall, an 11-year-old Barbadian, environmentalist, has made quite a splash on the world stage, becoming the youngest award-winning filmmaker in her homeland, capturing the attention of Prime Minister, Mia Amore Mottley and actor Orlando Bloom.

Little Maria, whose motto is “Reduce, reuse, recycle and repair” helped her win the UNDP Small Island Future Fest 2019, and is the recipient of the 2019 NIFCA National Independence Festival of Creative Arts Award for her production, “Little Thoughts on Big Matters,” in an interview with Orlando Bloom, the UNICEF goodwill ambassador, said she was excited to be chatting with the actor.

Bloom, congratulated Maria, and asked her how she felt about being the youngest award-winning film in her country. She responded by saying, “I am very proud of myself that I have achieved that award at such a young age.”

The interview that was conducted on Nov. 17 ahead of Universal Children’s Day on Nov. 20, gave Maria an opportunity to represent Barbados, which she described as the natural beauty seen in pictures, on the Internet, and showcased by tour guides. She also celebrated Barbadians as very nice people.

Asked to talk about herself, the gleeful young lady shared, “my family consists of my mom, dad, two cats, Mimi and Raj, and pet turtle, Turts.”

She told Bloom that before COVID-19, she had hung out and played with friends, but due to the pandemic, they are all now distant from each other afraid that they would contract the virus. “We are very distant and lonely, even in school,” she shared.

During the interview with Bloom for the Voices of Youth, UNICEF campaign, Marie expressed her dismay at the way in which a passenger traveling alongside her mother’s car tossed a plastic bottle out of a window. She could not understand why recycled items were not being disposed of in a proper manner.

“Because my mom is such a great driver we did not get into an accident, or anything like that since she had to swerve not to hit the object. Then I had a moment to think. Is this normal in Barbados, and why do people think this is a great idea to dispose of their plastics and other items in this way?” she questioned.

This action sparked the idea to create her YouTube Channel “Little Thoughts on Big Matters,” that shows children and adults, “how their ideas can make a great impact on our environment,” she said, explaining to Bloom that she came up with the title herself, that prompted him to complement her as a clever wordsmith.

“Because of COVID-19, I can’t produce as many videos due to my school schedule. It limits my efforts to socialize and develop more content for my ‘Reduce, reuse, recycle and repair’ platform,” said the precocious young girl, who added she was also afraid of catching the virus.

“I am looking forward to socializing and gathering information to create more videos on how to protect the environment after COVID-19,” she said.

Maria said if she were in charge of the United Nations she would change how people think about the earth and the environment. “We only have one earth so we need to protect it,” she added.

Prime Minister Motley has complimented the Harrison College first form student for her activist work, during a conversation about the importance of preserving the ocean, according to reports.

The budding prosthetics doctor who was presented with gifts from PM Motley, with her parents, Sarah and Neil beside her, hopes to unveil a club at her school where her peers could share ideas on various matters.

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