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Anastasia and Charlotte Named to Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25

Senior School
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Anastasia Castro and Charlotte Brady, both Class of 2020, have recently been named to ‘Canada’s Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25’ by Starfish Canada. The Glenlyon Norfolk School duo are being recognized for years of environmental activism.

“It feels a little surprising,” said Anastasia. “It’s an honour to be chosen, and I’m very excited to be able to connect with everyone else in the Starfish community. It’s an amazing opportunity.”

Charlotte echoed the sentiment, commenting that it was an exciting, surreal moment for both of them.

“I’m honoured to be a recipient,” she said. “I’m so grateful and so glad that I can be an ambassador for the cause. I can’t believe that we’ve been chosen alongside all of these incredible applicants, and I’m just so grateful to be a part of a nationwide community of environmental leaders.”

Anastasia and Charlotte first got involved with environmental causes when they joined Fin Free Victoria, a group of activists focused on educating the public about dangerously low shark populations and the need to regulate the sale of shark fins in Canada. They then shifted their focus to raising awareness of plastics in the oceans. They have campaigned to ban the use of plastic bags in Victoria and other municipalities in the area, and have continued to work on developing a program to make all schools in the province free of single-use plastics.

This has been a big year for the pair, who each recently received the Medal of Citizenship, awarded by the Government of BC, along with this new accolade of being named to the top 25 environmentalists under 25.

“I try not to think about it too hard, otherwise it might be a bit overwhelming,” said Anastasia. “A lot of good news has come through, as well as a lot of bad and the whiplash can be disorienting at times. It feels like everything is so very much in motion, but hopefully, we can harness that to continue moving forward.

Charlotte agreed that it’s been an overwhelming year, but they have been taking it one stride at a time.

 “I’m grateful to have all of the people that are supporting me and forming a community around me, even if it’s online now, as opposed to in person. The little connections become big,” she said.

Both Anastasia and Charlotte name Mrs. McCullough as an important influence in their lives and one of their greatest mentors.

“She was my teacher at GNS when I was in Middle School and taught me about all these issues plaguing our world,” said Anastasia. “However, more importantly, she taught me how to take action. I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without her and I can never be grateful enough for everything that she has done.”

Charlotte met Mrs. McCollough through Fin Free Victoria prior to joining GNS in Grade 8.  She says she has guided the pair through their experiences.

“She has always had our backs and gotten us incredible opportunities to create change in our communities. She’s been such a gift to have,” she said.

There is also one other person both students say that they couldn’t do any of these things without, and that’s each other.

“Anastasia’s always been the brain and the heart behind the operation, and I’ve been lucky enough to stand beside her and be her partner,” said Charlotte. “She’s always inspired me to be a better version of myself and never give up on our cause, which I am so, so grateful for.

“Charlotte, my partner, has carried me through so much and always stood by my side,” added Anastasia. “She’s made so much possible and things have been infinitely easier with her support.”

Both Anastasia and Charlotte shared a piece of advice for those who are striving to make a difference but don’t know where to start.

“Reach out to experienced people who are already deep in the trenches,” said Anastasia. “We’re always so excited to hear from people who want to get involved. My door is always open, so please feel free to email me if you’d like. Or if you have something specific in mind, I encourage you to contact the local branch of an organization that addresses an issue you are passionate about. They’ll be more than happy to help you get started. Overall, I’ll say that it’s a lot easier to start than you might think and there are so many different ways to contribute—you don’t have to be a stellar public speaker or a debate whiz. Determination is the biggest asset you can have. You don’t have to have a ‘special’ skill at all—some good old-fashioned grit is more than enough.”

Charlotte adds that those who are inspired to make a difference should go after what they want and then just keep going.

“Just keep moving forward,” she said. “It can feel incredibly long, and extremely difficult when you don’t feel listened to, or like your actions aren’t having an impact. But the only way to achieve change is to continue making small steps that turn into something down the line.”

Congratulations to Charlotte and Anastasia and keep up your inspiring work!