14-Year-Old AYV Social Venture Winner Leads Eco-Crusade in Peru
Seamlessly transitioning from documentary to hip-hop music video, first place Social Venture winner, Mayelly Guzman’s Green Goal (Reto Verde) encourages a multi-generational audience to be proactive in protecting and treasuring our earth. Witnessing adult indifference and complacency to garbage strewn about in her community in Lima, Peru was the impetus that activated 14-year-old Mayelly to learn about recycling for eco-business. Since then, she has led an eco-crusade – teaching younger kids how to make products with recycled materials, and passionately disseminating her message at fairs, universities and businesses in her community. Her environmental stewardship was born in Lima, but her vital green goal will voyage far beyond her country’s frontiers.
“Our planet is damaged but we are part of it, and we can change the history. I am seeking environmental awareness in children and teenagers. I want them to be aware about how humans affect the environment with their actions.”
Q: What problem are you trying to solve?
I want to change the unconcerned and passive attitude shown by adults about environmental problems of our community. My neighbors have resigned themselves to seeing garbage pollution as part of their everyday life. They do not take any action to save the planet.
Q: The banner in the beginning of your Green Goal video says, “¡Que el Planeta Hable! (May the Planet Speak!). Since you have become a spokesperson for the earth, what message would you like to spread on her behalf? What is the impact you want to make with your message?
Our planet is damaged but we are part of it, and we can change the history. I am seeking environmental awareness in children and teenagers. I want them to be aware about how humans affect the environment with their actions. This knowledge will encourage them to practice an eco-friendly behavior. These children and teens that listen and feel the message will be the ones who replicate these eco-friendly practices in their groups, becoming changemakers.
Q: How did you initially get involved in recycling for eco-business? What was the issue you wanted to tackle?
As member and now leader of the “Green Goal” project, we visited companies that make products based on recycled material. This experience allowed us to dream of being environmental entrepreneurs, and then we took environmental entrepreneurship courses and created business plans in socially responsible products: first the “Eco Costume Factory” project dedicated to produce costumes made of reused plastic and cardboard and the “InstaGreen” project that produces custom picture frames from recycled materials.
Q: Tell us about your journey since then. How did you get to where you are today?
I started in the “Green Goal” project with a group of classmates; our vision was to become environmental entrepreneurs. Since we started this challenge we have become close friends and have developed new skills and talents we did not know we had initially. We have taught younger children; we have learned to speak in public in many environmental fairs in universities, businesses and institutions of Lima. Also, we have learned lessons of acting, singing and hip hop. With these art skills, we want to create lyrics in order to raise awareness in young people. This journey has been full of not only theoretical learning like in school; but practical because we applied it in real life; that’s what I like the most about this experience.
Q: As an eco-leader, how do you recruit and lead youth to join in your efforts?
We organize youth workshops to listen to what they have to say about environmental issues that we are living with, we conclude with solutions and daily eco friendly practices. In addition, we teach them how to recycle and to create products we use daily. Also, to attract the youth we have created songs from the hip hop genre, where we could freely express our opinion on the issue of the environment.
Q: Who has helped you on your journey?
Since the beginning we were supported by the Corporate Social Responsibility Area of Haug company, is located in my town Lurin. They gave us financial support for materials and recruitment of teachers, for the success of “Green Goal”. They have chosen our dream to make a difference in people of the community where we live, because they believe in it too. They rely on youth leadership and motivate us to continue implementing our ideas.
Q: What are your future goals?
My goal with this project is to be an environmental leader not only in my community, but abroad, and to make real changes with cooperation of people around the world. My career goal is to study three specialties that are related with what I learned during this project: Environmental Engineering, Administration and Social Psychology; and keep working in these issues.
Q: What help do you need to achieve them?
Our project mission is to make more people aware of the importance of protecting the environment, so we ask people to follow us through Twitter, Facebook and through media content that we make, to reach more people and impact their lives. On a personal level, both mine and my classmates, we’d love to have the financial support to apply for scholarships and to get professional studies.
Q: How will the world be different because of what you’re doing?
I believe in the project that we have undertaken and I know that through our teamwork the people will realize the importance of the environmental issue, and we will have an impact changing their habits. These people also teach their children and friends on this environmental culture. This way we will not passively see garbage around us as part of the panorama, finally.
“This journey has been full of not only theoretical learning like in school; but practical because we applied it in real life; that’s what I like the most about this experience.”
Patricia Cogley is manager, Adobe Youth Voices.