Lily is on a mission. She’s been walking up and down Main St in Mornington since spring last year speaking to businesses about their straw use. She’s encouraging them to change to paper or metal straws, or to simply remove straws from their venues completely. There’s been such a positive response that this environmental warrior, at just 11 years old, has been named the Young Community Ambassador for the Dolphin Institute.
Her passion originated from a day at the beach with her father and sister. Lily noticed the large amount of plastic rubbish and disliked it intensely. And just like that, she wanted to make a change. Since then, she’s been working with the Dolphin Institute behind the scenes to not only keep our Peninsula clean, but to work towards protecting the marine life from our litter pollution. You just know she’s going places when the level-headed and mature pre-teen states: “Whenever I’m down at the beach I like to pick up rubbish, and I’d really love my friends to join in.”
Lily’s mother Eileen and father Andreas could not be more proud of their daughter’s passion as she strives to make Main St straw-free and speaks at meetings held by the Dolphin Institute about her mission.
“It’s going really well,” said Lily. “More and more shops are using paper or metal straws, or even no straws at all. We’ve just been visiting each store and talking to them about what they use. Many have been interested in changing.”
So what’s the next goal for this determined youngster? “We want all of the shops to stop using straws. And then the Dolphin Institute and I will speak to the suppliers of the straws and ask them to stop making plastic ones, and make paper straws instead. Dolphins and all marine creatures are eating plastic straws and getting sick. They are polluting the planet and we can make a difference if we just stop.”
Lily’s a water-baby through and through, and when she’s not attending Year 5 at Mornington Park Primary School in the alternative learning section, Steiner, she’s surfing, snorkelling or stand up paddle boarding. She’s always in the water, and a highlight of hers was swimming with seals and stingrays, so of course swimming with dolphins is next on the agenda. Sea Shepherd and the Dolphin Institute serve as inspiration for the budding wildlife warrior, who hopes to become a marine biologist when she grows up.
“My message is that if we started it, we can end it. If everyone picks up just one piece of rubbish off the beach, it would make a difference. It’d be amazing. Every little bit counts.”