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Meet Sasha Olsen of Iwantmyoceanback in Bal Harbour

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sasha Olsen.

Sasha, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My name is Sasha Olsen, and I’m ten years old. I started this movement, Iwantmyoceanback, to help end ocean pollution! Last summer, I visited Asia and went out on a boat with my family. I saw so much trash floating around, and I realized that I never noticed this huge problem before! When we got back, I noticed a lot of sewage spills happening too. I asked my mom so many questions and did a lot of research with my cousin. I finally told the people around me that “I want my ocean back” and that it’s about time we start taking care of our oceans. This is how my movement was born! The ocean is our backyard. I knew we couldn’t keep watching sea animals die.

Last year, I also sent a letter to the mayor in my town and visited him to talk about how what we can do to help make sure plastic doesn’t end up in our oceans. Since there are a lot of tourists who come to visit our beaches and might not know how to help, it’s important to me that we spread information to others. I was given the opportunity to speak at a council meeting, where I shared my thoughts and what I thought we could do together as a town to take more steps to become zero-waste!

Since then, I’ve been teaming up with the city to have events and cleanups to bring attention to this problem. I also have a YouTube channel, where I post interviews with interesting people, who I invite to my studio Iwantmyoceanback on the beach. One of my guests was Jencarlos Canela. He came to my studio for an interview earlier this year! It’s an amazing experience, and I love interviewing! I’m currently working on a new book and am releasing one this upcoming May titled Legends from Mom’s Closet! It’s my first book project that I started at the same time as this movement, which is where I sneak into my mom’s closet to dress up as different legendary women. It’s really important that I help spread the word that we need to stop buying fast fashion! We have so many other options that are better for the environment, like hand-me-downs, secondhand, and vintage.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has! I have had a lot of support from my family and friends. Recently, I’ve been getting emails from kids all over the world, supporting me and wanting to join this movement and help save the oceans with me. That’s what’s really cool. Knowing that other kids want to do this with me! It means a lot to me and makes me really happy. If there is a struggle, it’s just getting people to see the ocean pollution problem. Some people don’t think it’s so bad and others just don’t want to change their habits to help us heal our oceans and our planet. Maybe adults don’t believe me because I’m a kid, but I know that together all of us kids can show them that this is serious! We have to start making a change.

Please tell us about Iwantmyoceanback.
Iwantmyoceanback is a nonprofit organization. We have events where we do beach cleanups and we are known for reusing trash and making it into art! We do this at our events, and we collect the trash we clean up to create art from it. Education is very important too! So, at many of our events, we talk about the problems of ocean pollution and how it hurts us and sea animals. We talk about things that pollute the oceans and how we can help stop this problem. We hope to soon auction our art pieces to collect money to give back to organizations that help our sea life and oceans! Iwantmyoceanback is very different because we’re kid-led. Since I started the organization, it’s important for me to show other kids that they can stand up and make a difference too! We all see what’s happening around us, so we should stand up and tell our parents and older generations because this is the world we’re growing up in! I don’t want a plastic childhood for my little sister, Mia.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
The most important quality is probably confidence! If you don’t believe in yourself to stand up and make a difference, it will be really hard to. Others won’t believe you, either. So, I think this is what helps me the most. This movement means so much to me.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Alyona Olsen

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