From picking up trash to Climate Advocate
Meet the girl that is so passionate about collecting trash that it drives her to become a Climate Advocate. Riddhi Samtani got involved with community service on the Island at age 13 primarily engaging in beach cleans ups. Little did she knew that the International Coastal Cleanup which was organized on the island by Pride Foundation at the time, would have edged in stone her love for a clean environment, that she was moved to educate herself academically about the climate and climate change.
From a young age Riddhi’s discovery of the notion of impact motivated her to acquire higher education in this field, which inevitably landed her in Northeastern University in Boston studying to be a Climate Advocate. Riddhi was partly responsible for placing a number of garbage bins around the Island because she believed that if enough garbage bins were placed on the Island, then the environment would not have to suffer and bear the weight of waste been thrown around by those who would litter only because others were doing so, and if there were enough bins visible, certainly it would help people to better dispose of their garbage responsibly.
It was identified from early that a youth voice like hers would call attention to the need for a cleaner environment. Riddhi can be a steering advocate for climate in the Caribbean; A region that really need a voice on the world stage. She affirms that the Caribbean contribute less gases that affect climate change but suffers the most from the changes in the climate which in her view is not fair proportionately.
Riddhi had the opportunity to travel the world out of interest wanting to know how other countries protect their environment in a sustainable way. She has been to Ecuador, countries in Southeast Asia including Singapore studying the effects of climate change and to understand policy. Singapore was of significant interest to her. She wanted to know how they manage to develop and get ahead so quickly. Singapore is one of the wealthiest State in the world and is an Island about the same size as Dominica that we can learn a lot from. Their emphasis she has noticed was on policy legislation and Infrastructure.
The young environmentalist says she is by no means taking any credit for the platform she has been given to speak on these issues but recognizes her mentors of the past who inspired her to take this leap and build on what they have started. She hoped that there would be more dialogue as well as legislation to address or climate challenge. She expects to have her master’s Degree in Policy Administration and Environmental Economics in 5 years; but for the moment Riddhi spends her time as Head of Sustainability for a clean technology startup called Phoenix Tailings. Her goal is to develop her skillsets and put value to her knowledge to find economic solutions towards St. Maarten’s climate resilience and sustainable development.
Riddhi was honored Friday December 04th for her continued work on behalf of the environment, building on what she started from a child here on St. Maarten. The Climate Advocate was inducted into the St. Maarten Promoting Young Ambassadors Foundation which is spare headed by MP Angelique Roumou. Immediately following the Foundation’s featured movie “I am Greta” marking the annual “Rights of the Child” movie event, at the Cultural Center