Little People, Environmental Giants
September 12 2011
Environmental governance in the Pacific was a topic for panelists at the Pacific Environment Forum in Samoa. One of the
topics for this panel was “empowering young people to be environmental leaders in environmental management; youth
perspective” presented by Ms. Brianna Fruean.
During the Pacific Environment Forum one of the most inspiring moments of the day was during a presentation by a 13 year
old passionate environmental advocate who has been doing community-based work for three years. She is an eighth grader
attending Robert Louis Stevenson School in Apia, Samoa.
Her passion for advocacy began in 2005 after she attended a SPREP meeting with her mother. She felt an instant
connection with the ideas and issues addressed at the meeting and knew immediately that this was what she wanted to do
with her life.
Her work started small with community-based projects run by her and a small group of friends. The first step was a
carpool system to reduce carbon emissions the next step was a recycling and composting practice at school and home.
From the beginning her main focus has been to combat pollution and its effects on the environment.
“Coming from a small Pacific Island country, I feel that my home is a true paradise and want to do everything in my
power to keep this paradise as pristine as possible.”
She explains that a major inspiration for her and her cause is the work done by 350.org and its founder, Bill McKibben,
and she was able to garner a spot at one of their workshops in Seoul, Korea.
It was the start of a global outlook on her passions and she treasured being able to meet new friends from all over the
world with whom she could share ideas. In 2009 and 2010 she represented her home country at the UNEP Tunza conferences,
in Korea and Japan respectively.
Her experiences there have given her the confidence and poise to take her ideas to forums and meetings where she talks
about the work she does and the work that all youth could be doing.
Her presentation during the Pacific Environment Forum - “Little People, Environmental Giants” is an appeal to motivate
youth by using more social media and internet-based platforms to get their messages across.
“By using a language that younger generations communicate in already will help make the issues more relevant and
interesting, and will encourage us to be involved.”
She also had a strong message for those in her generation to take charge of their own futures by empowering and
“Age is not an excuse. Everything needs to start now,” she says. “There’s no use waiting for the future because what if
it’s not there anymore?”
Her latest project is the Moving Planet Samoa which is a march against the use of fossil fuels, to be held on September
24th in Apia.
It is a worldwide 350.org event, and Brianna has organised the participation of Samoa with the aid of SPREP and other
team members. This, and many of her projects and events, has used social networking websites to build interest and rally
She has also sent out invitations to schools and youth organizations in Samoa. For more information about the Moving
Planet Project please visit http://www.moving-planet.org/events/ws/apia/1101