E Wen Wong

E Wen Wong

Voting for the Seaweek 2019 Senior Ocean Champion competition is now open until midnight Friday 1 March 2019. 
Click here to see all the Seaweek 2019 Ocean Champion Challenges

E Wen Wong is a passionate environmental advocate, innovator, and founder of plastic pollution organisation, P.S. Our Beaches. She was first introduced to the plastic pollution issue at the 2013 Future Problem Solving National Finals, through researching the topic ‘Ocean Soup’. After three years of growing her knowledge and identifying a need for positive change, she founded P.S. Our Beaches, an organisation working to rid our environment of single use plastics. In this time, the organisation has expanded with volunteers right across the country and as far as Portugal and Thailand. E Wen was a recipient of one of this year’s New Zealand Youth Awards for her commitment to the environment and, in the past two years, has initiated litter audits, awareness posts on sustainability initiatives and interviews with the Department of Conservation and UNESCO to raise the profile of the beach pollution issue. The Burnside High School student is also a UN Youth High School Ambassador and volunteer with 350 Aotearoa. The latest project stemming from P.S. Our Beaches is the EnviroPAST conference – a day of environmental education and inspiration for New Zealand’s youth.
Senior Ocean Champion Challenge Name: EnviroPAST (Plastic And Sustainability Talks)
What is the problem your Ocean Challenge is trying to solve?  Human induced actions have posed significant threats towards environmental sustainability, with plastic pollution and climate change being just two of the many environmental issues our world is facing. On a global scale, there are 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste on Earth, more than three-quarters of it piling up in landfills and the natural environment. It is here where they are mistakenly consumed by 100% of sea turtles, as well as birds, fish and 700 wildlife species. Even plankton are consuming microplastics, providing a pathway for the plastic’s dangerous chemicals to make their way up the food chain where we, too, may consume them. Our dependency on the ocean for climate change mitigation and our continued production of plastics is leading to increased CO2 content, lowering pH levels, ocean acidification and decreased oxygen content in our oceans and atmosphere. Such impacts threaten the ocean’s ability to continue its usual carbon sequestration process, going on to place threats on food security, shoreline protection and sustainable economic development. Due to these rising and increasingly worrying issues, there is a local, national and global need to deter the population from plastic litter cultures, while working to dispose of the existing accumulation in a sustainable manner. EnviroPAST is aimed at solving the problem at its source by assisting New Zealand’s youth to act upon environmental issues.
How will your Ocean Challenge solve this problem? Be specific – identify objectives, actions and outcomes:
Ocean Challenge: EnviroPAST—Plastic And Sustainability Talks
Focus: Inspiring young people, aged 12-24, to make positive environmental change.
Location: Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū
EnviroPAST is a by-youth-for-youth initiative addressing some of the most prominent environmental issues of our time. Taking place on Friday the 12th and Saturday the 13th of April, EnviroPAST 2019 will bring together young people and industry experts in an exciting mix of speaker sessions, workshops and a tree planting at Styx Mill.
We believe that young people have a calling to transcend existing boundaries and actively engage in environmental issues, be it by partaking in conversations, staying in campaign loops or minimising their individual plastic footprints. To do this, the facilitation of accessible events, platforms and conversations with a range of youth is key. We believe that it is initiatives like these, led by youth, for youth, that give our city the best hope of achieving a truly sustainable future.
Our four guiding aims:

INSPIRE – Through our incredible talks and workshops, our young people will be equipped and inspired to instigate real environmental change. In this way, EnviroPAST attendees will join a community of changemakers who care about the world and act upon their environmental appreciation.
EDUCATE – Our diverse programme places particular emphasis on connected learning and application of knowledge. Scientific, social and technological ideas are just a small selection of the perspectives our young people will encounter within the broader facet of sustainability.
CONNECT – Post-conference, our unique environmental network will strive to support our young people in applying their newfound environmental knowledge. This network provides them with updates on environmental initiatives and opportunities to connect with other EnviroPAST alumni.
CHALLENGE – EnviroPAST will challenge our young people to think differently about environmental issues and question the way our society approaches these problems. They, as young people, will be empowered to pose alternative solutions which ensure sustainability for our communities.

For more information, please visit www.enviropast.com
How will you engage with others to undertake your Ocean Challenge? We hope to involve approximately 200 people from across the country, primarily between the ages of 12 and 24, including attendees, sponsors, speakers and workshop facilitators. EnviroPAST will provide them with opportunities to learn from and act on new environmental knowledge in unique and interesting ways. Some of our speakers include:

  • Professor Ian Shaw (University of Canterbury Lecturer and Toxicologist)
  • Deborah Russell (MP for New Lynn and Chair of the Environment Select Committee)
  • Raquelle de Vine (Founder & Director of Algalita South Pacific)
  • Anthea Madill (Remix Plastic)
  • Helen Townsend-Rupp (Founder & CEO of The Rubbish Whisperer)
  • Paul Evans (CEO of WasteMINZ)
  • Kate Meads (Waste Free with Kate)
  • Helena Ruffell (University of Canterbury Environmental Science Masters Student and Zero Waste Blogger) and more!

How will you measure the success of your Ocean Challenge? We will measure success through:

  • Survey feedback from attendees and speakers
  • Establishment of a post-conference social media network and mailing list to follow up on how attendees have instigated change in their communities
  • Feedback from schools and community groups.
  • We will also collect data from the tree planting to evaluate its successes and areas for improvement.

More information: https://psbeaches.com/enviropast/
Entry supported / validated by: Harriet Fraser and William Wray
Voting for the Seaweek 2019 Senior Ocean Champion competition is now open until midnight Friday 1 March 2019. 
Click here to see all the Seaweek 2019 Ocean Champion Challenges

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What is the Ocean Champion Challenge? The national Seaweek Ocean Champion Challenge – Moana Toa Whakatara –  is a call for all environmental heroes to share with us what action they are taking to help solve a problem impacting the marine environment. For this year’s entry into the Ocean Champion Challenge, we invite you share… Read More

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