Olivia Mandle, la Greta Thunberg ibérica

It is a waste of optimism, energy, enthusiasm and hope; and, at only 16 years old, he has a book, a series on climate change and a popular initiative presented to the Congress of Deputies supported by more than 150,000 signatures. This is Olivia Mandle, a young environmental activist born in Barcelona, ​​who is already considered the Iberian Greta Thunberg. A parallel with which she does not show any discomfort, taking into account that the young Swedish woman managed to bring thousands of young people to the streets against climate change.

But Olivia is not far behind, and uniting her love for animals and the Mediterranean Sea, she created her first campaign on change.org at the beginning of 2020, when she was only 14 years old: #noesunpaisparadelfines, with the aim of ensuring that they do not exist more dolphinariums in Spain in which private companies obtain benefits thanks to the confinement of these animals in small pools.

The Animal Welfare Law, approved in March 2023, leaves out dolphins, when Spain is the sixth country in the world and the largest in Europe with the most cetaceans in captivity, with more than a hundred orcas and dolphins in captivity, only behind China, Russia or the United States. Numerous scientists and tens of thousands of Spaniards have supported Mandle’s initiative, which is part of a global trend that other countries such as France, Canada, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Hungary, Nicaragua, Slovenia or Switzerland.

Recognitions

For actions like this, Olivia has been recognized as a “Heroine” by the Jane Goodall Institute, from which she received, in November 2021, the International Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, she is an ambassador for the European Climate Pact of the European Commission, she has been a finalist in the Global Good Awards ‘Canon Young Champion’ 2023 for her contribution to the fight against climate change, she has been selected as one of the 37 young leaders this year by Womans of the World Festival. and she has recently been named a “Food Hero” by the FAO.

With such a profile, Olivia has become one of the most recognized environmental activists, supported by the more than 11,000 followers she has on the social network Instagram. He gives talks, presentations and workshops, travels around the world, such as the visit he just made to the Corcovado National Park, in Costa Rica, as part of a volunteer program, and he has just premiered his own series on TV3: Kanviem?, in which it shows the consequences on climate change.

A very intense life for someone so young, who enjoys every moment “as if it were an opportunity that I cannot waste.” Her mother is essential for coordinating her agenda, “she juggles to get to everything” and is one of the people, along with her father, who awakened Olivia’s ecological awareness. At home, in addition to constantly watching documentaries by Jane Goodall, David Attenborough and Jaques Cousteau, the whole family enjoyed reading, “thanks to the number of books there have always been” and which he saw his grandmother devouring.

Although the awakening of environmental awareness came when he was only 5 years old, and after a visit to the Barcelona zoo. Ella Olivia remembers “the contradictory feeling that seeing my favorite animal, a dolphin, caused in me, but knowing that after the show it did not return to the sea, I was not free.” A little later, the film Liberad a Willy and, above all, the documentary Keiko, about the true history of the cetacean, continued to stir Olivia’s ecological conscience, until, at the age of 12, she was lucky enough to be able to navigate the waters off the coast of Barcelona and see, this time, dolphins in the wild. A reason to promote the creation of a marine sanctuary in the Mediterranean named SUA: Save Us All, because “if we save the animals, we all save ourselves.”

New tool

The sensitivity towards the oceans is evident with her “Jelly Clean”, a utensil to clean the surface of the sea of ​​microplastics and which she created in 2019 by recycling household objects and which always goes with her when she goes out to sea. Now, she holds workshops to teach the little ones how to make one just like them, while they become for her “a source of hope and strength to face the future.”

Olivia is and acts as an environmental activist in every second of her life, there is no limit to her desire to change the world, and with her friends she organizes every year, back in September, a beach clean-up on the Costa Brava. Last year, nearly 500 volunteers collected, in just one hour, nearly 700 kilos of garbage.

His latest feat has been to write a book, an exciting adventure traveled over 12 months, converted, since October 19, into “If it’s your thing”, a text to stir consciences and values ​​and transform our relationship with the planet. A guide to know how to act, with small, big actions that can be transformed into real change.

It is evident that Olivia, at only 16 years old, has fulfilled many of her dreams, even some more than she could even imagine, so when she is asked how she imagines the Olivia Mandle in the year 2040, she thinks of “a “Marine biologist who travels around the planet raising awareness throughout the world about how we can better take care of our environment.”

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